3 min read

Meet Dreadnoughtus: Newest, Baddest, Biggest Dino On The Block

<p>Jennifer Hall</p>

With a name that means "Fearing Nothing" - evoking World War I-era battleships or at least extreme sporting apparel - newly-found dinosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani tipped the scales at 130,000 pounds, making it one of the biggest land animals of all time. That's heavier than a Boeing 747, or the equivalent weight of about eight T. rexes:

(Photo: Lacovara et al./Boeing/Phylopic/Campione and Evans/Benson et al.)

"Dreadnoughtus schrani was astoundingly huge," says Kenneth Lacovara, a paleontologist at Drexel University, Philadelphia, in a statement. Lacovara uncovered the Dreadnoughtus fossils in Argentina, and, along with his colleagues, published a paper in the journal Scientific Reports Thursday detailing the find.

"Shockingly, skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it was not yet full grown," Lacovara says. "It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet."

Just as remarkable as the animal's heft was the completeness of its fossilized skeleton. Minus the head fossils (which are exceptionally rare, considering the comparative tininess of sauropod noggins), researchers have discovered more than 70 percent of the dinosaur's bones.

White bones in the diagram represent fossils found by the paleontologist team. (Photo: Lacovara et al.)

The dino's huge size - and a "weaponized tail" - kept the animal safe from almost all threats, Lacovara says. But maintaining that bulk meant each Dreadnoughtus was a plant-eating chowhound. "Imagine a life-long obsession with eating."

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