One of the very most interesting areas of dinosaurs for children is learning all about how diverse this band of reptiles actually were. Like, currently there were over 1,000 different species formally named and described. A great a number of these known species were quite small, the indisputable fact that all dinosaurs were huge is a bit of a misnomer, and museums which love to really have a huge and spectacular dinosaur display often give the incorrect impression. As dinosaurs evolved, they filled just about any niche in the meals chain, just like terrestrial mammals do today. If land mammals can range in size from a shrew to an African elephant, then it is not surprising to find out that dinosaurs varied in size too.
But how about the truly big dinosaurs? Children love to learn facts and figures about these prehistoric animals and amongst their favourite questions is always to enquire that has been the greatest dinosaur of all time? To identify the giants one of the dinosaurs is a relatively easy task. There’s one particular group that grew much larger than every other known form of dinosaur – indeed a number of the members of the group were undoubtedly the greatest, the longest and the heaviest land animals that have ever roamed planet Earth.
A well-known dinosaur such as Triceratops (Triceratops horridus) was big. The biggest species of Triceratops is estimated to possess been with us nine metres long and it will have weighed as much as seven tonnes. If this species of dinosaur were around today it will be classed as the biggest land living animal, with only the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) to rival it. However, Triceratops could have been dwarfed by all of the members of the Sauropoda, several long-necked, long-tailed, lizard-hipped dinosaurs, representatives of which can claim to be the greatest land living animals proven to science.
Introducing the Sauropods
Quite simply, the Sauropods (the name means “lizard foot”) were Saurischian, that is belonging to the lizard-hipped clade of dinosaurs that also included the mainly carnivorous Theropods. These plant-eating dinosaurs had small heads, long necks and tails with massive bodies. Their weight was supported by four trunk-like legs and these animals were slow-moving, ponderous creatures. Some of these kind evolved dermal armour and one or two unusual genera even had tail clubs and spikes, similar to the armoured dinosaurs including the Stegosaurs and the Ankylosaurs. These dinosaurs can be found in the fossil record in Upper Triassic strata and they survived right up until the conclusion of age dinosaurs. Sauropods could have been familiar to famous brands Triceratops and Tyrannosaurids such as Tyrannosaurus rex. It absolutely was the Victorians who first marvelled at how big these dinosaurs. The first really big dinosaur fossil bones being put on display throughout the reign of Queen Victoria and it is from this point onwards that the debate as to that has been the greatest dinosaur really got going.
Defining the Biggest Dinosaurs
There are numerous problems with trying to identify that has been the greatest of the Sauropods. For a start, these types of colossal creatures are known from only some fragmentary and not even close to complete skeletons. Although how big a dinosaur could be deferred from a couple of bones including the femur (thigh bone) using an activity linked to comparative anatomy it is not precise. Another problem is, new species are being discovered constantly and this will cause changes in size estimations. Indeed, once a fresh dinosaur is named and described the resulting press publicity can lead to some inaccurate size estimates becoming highlighted in the media. It appears that adults and children too are interested in record breakers. We recall working on some papers linked to the fossilised track way of a large Sauropod found in Upper Jurassic aged rocks in France. The tracks contains several metres of clearly defined and very large footprints, some more than a metre in diameter. By the full time the press agencies had got your hands on the story and seen a number of the photographs, there is speculation that the dinosaur that walked within the soft mud that preserved their tracks was one of many biggest of all time. This isn’t easy to confirm when you have only got the footprints to go on. The soft mud could have been easily compacted by the animal’s weight and the tracks distorted somewhat as a result. The fossilisation process would likewise have distorted the prints, and perhaps their size was overestimated in the press pictures as only the greatest, clearest prints were photographed.
The Biggest Dinosaurs of All Time – The Contenders
Let us begin with the current record holder, the dinosaur officially described as the greatest proven to science, at the least for the full time being. This honour would go to the South American Sauropod Argentinosaurus (Argentinosaurus huinculensis). This huge dinosaur was formally named and described in 1993. It is only known from a couple of fragmentary bones, including a femur and some vertebrae, (backbones). what dinosaur has 500 teeth The fossils were found in Argentina, hence the name. The tallest vertebrae are over 1.2 metres high. In comparisons with better known Sauropods size estimates with this dinosaur have been made. These estimates vary considerably, with some scientists suggesting this dinosaur could have been over forty-five metres long and weighing something near seventy tonnes. Other more conservative estimates as to the size of the animal have been made, with a length of a little over 100 feet being agreed upon by some palaeontologists. It is unquestionably, true this Cretaceous giant was a massive animal, but until more fossils are located the true size of the dinosaur can just only be estimated. Numerous museums have capitalised on the popularity of the biggest dinosaurs and prepared mounted replicas of this particular giant. The biggest of those museum exhibits measures over thirty-five metres long, but here again, without more fossil evidence this display is basically speculative.
Fragmentary remains of a really huge Titanosaurid Sauropod were discovered in southern India throughout the 1980s. Initially scientists thought that the fossils were from a massive meat-eating dinosaur. However, in 1995 the fossils were reclassified as belonging to a Sauropod, simply because no other animal was regarded as so big. A tibia (lower leg bone), ascribed to this dinosaur was a lot more than 1.25 times how big the same bone ascribed to Argentinosaurus. Based on scaling up applying this single bone as evidence, the dinosaur from India known as Bruhathkayosaurus (Bruhathkayosaurus matleyi) will be the largest dinosaur proven to science. However, the fragmentary nature of the fossils found currently are keeping this particular specimen out of the record books.
Diplodocus and the Big Sauropods from the United States
Some of the greatest known long-necked dinosaurs lived in the thing that was to become the United States. Dinosaurs such as Diplodocus and Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus). However, these dinosaurs weren’t as wide-bodied as their Titanosaur relatives and not contenders for the greatest, that is the heaviest dinosaur of all time. However, there is one mysterious fossil discovery from the United States that can rival the South American dinosaurs in size. In 1878, the American palaeontologist Edward Cope described a one and a half metre long percentage of a vertebrae from Upper Jurassic strata from Colorado. The whole bone could have been something like two and a half metres long, making it the greatest back-bone fossil ever found. Cope named this dinosaur Amphicoelias fragillimus and some scientists have estimated this dinosaur may reach lengths in excess of fifty-five metres, stood nine metres high at the hips and weighed something approaching 100 and fifty tonnes. Unfortunately, the bone is no more around to be studied, having less knowledge regarding fossil bone preservation meant this fossil crumbled into dust, it is only known from drawings made at the time. Still, if the size estimates are to believed then this dinosaur from the western United States could claim to be the greatest of all time.
Are you aware that longest dinosaur, then here is the realm of the Diplodocids but discussing these animals will have to watch for another time.
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