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America’s Biggest Dinosaur!

December 8th, 2011

Alamosaurus illustration courtesy of Mariana Ruiz Villarreal via Wikimedia Commons

America’s Biggest Dinosaur!

December 8, 2011 — The Alamosaurus is now considered to be the biggest dinosaur in North America … and one of the largest in the world!

Had you heard of Alamosaraus dinosaurs before?  The species of dinosaur isn’t new. It’s part of the sauropod family of long-necked, long-tailed, plant-eating dinosaurs that were alive about 69 million years ago. It’s similar to the Diplodocus.

Paleontologists Robert Sullivan and Denver Fowler in New Mexico. Photo credit Montana State University/W.P. Fowler

Paleontologists Denver Fowler of Montana State University and Robert Sullivan from the State Museum of Pennsylvania found some huge Alamosaurus bones in New Mexico between 2003 and 2006 but it took a long time to study them.

They unearthed two huge vertebrae (parts of the back bone) and a femur (thigh bone).

It’s rare to have a complete set of bones but from this finding they were able to tell that this Alamosaurus would have weighed about 70 tons and been 100 feet long! A ton is 2,000 pounds and a nice-sized cow weighs about that. So, it would have weighed about what 70 cows weigh and been the length of about 6 cars lined-up.

Until now, scientists had put the Alamosaurus at about half the size.

Image courtesy of Denver Fowler, Montana State University Museum of the Rockies

And it’s practically the same size as South America’s Argentinosaurus, considered to be the world’s largest dinosaur!

Besides being the biggest dinosaur found in North America, why is this finding important? Because it helps us better understand the growth, relationships, and evolution of dinosaurs.

Image from Forbes Paleo Club

To see more of where dinosaurs fit into the Earth’s timeline you can click here for a great National Geographic feature.

The Alamosaurus bones were found in New Mexico.

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