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What’s the World’s Largest Dinosaur?

It’s rather complicated when you try to tell which is the world’s largest dinosaur, and here’s why.

Paleontologists don’t usually discover complete skeletons rather they make estimates of height and weight from the bone fragments that they uncover. In addition to this, there are at least three categories for largest dinosaur on record: the weightiest, longest and tallest.

Starting with the weightiest dinosaur, we have the Argentinosaurus, a supermassive titanosaur (a titanosaur is a giant sauropod, a long-necked and long-tailed herbivorous dinosaur) that lived more than 90 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, in modern day Argentina.

Now here comes the confusion:

There are at least three different varying weight estimates for this one beast. According to BBC Earth, the giant weighs at least 110 tons (100 metric tons), while both London’s Natural History Museum and New York’s American Museum of Natural History return estimates of 77 tons and 90 tons respectively.

The most obvious reason for this varying calculations stems from the fact that the Argentinosaurus is known from just 13 bones: six midback vertebrae, five fragmentary hip vertebrae, one tibia (a shinbone) and one rib fragment.

Another contender for the world’s weightiest dinosaur is the Patagotitan, a titanosaur that weighed a whopping 69 tons (62 metric tons) when it lived about 100 million years ago in what is now Argentina. However, this weight was calculated based on a composite of individuals (there were six found in all), rather than just one dinosaur.

The Patagotitan, contender for what's the world's largest dinosaur
The dinosaur model of Patagotitan is larger than the exhibition area, so it welcomes guests to the museum at the elevators, as they enter the hall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Credit: Copyright AMNH/D. Finnin

What’s The World’s Longest Dinosaur?

The honor for the world’s longest dinosaur is most likely going to the Diplodocus or Mamenchisaurus, which can be described as slender and elongated sauropod dinosaurs. According to scientists, the Diplodocus and the Mamenchisaurus are about 115 feet (35m) long and are known from relatively complete skeletons therefore these numbers are much more accurate .

In contrast, the titanosaurs were shorter. For example, Dreadnoughtus was “only” about 85 feet (26 m) long.

This category is not without it’s only share of uncertainty. There are some dinosaur contenders for longest which are only known from fragments. For example, Sauroposeidon is known from just four neck vertebrae and the Amphicoelias, a sauropod known from only a sketch of a single vertebra in a notebook from the 19th century paleontologist Edward Cope, is sometimes cited as the longest, tallest and heaviest dinosaur.

What’s The World’s Tallest Dinosaur?

For the category of tallest dinosaur, the winner is likely Giraffatitan, a 40-foot-tall (12 m) sauropod dinosaur that lived in the late Jurassic about 150 million years ago in what is now Tanzania.


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1 thought on “What’s the World’s Largest Dinosaur?”

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