A newfound massive 122-foot-long dinosaur skeleton will become an exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History.
The 122-foot-long fossil – which was discovered not long ago – does not yet have a formal name. However, scientists stated that it likely belongs to the titanosaurs, a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs that includes some of the heaviest creatures ever to walk on Earth.
Because of its massive size, the titanosaur skeleton barely fits into the huge fossil hall at the American Museum of Natural History. The neck and head of the fossil do not fit at all.
According to palaeontologists, titanosaur lived about one hundred million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. The massive dinosaurs weighed about seventy tons and it was an herbivore. Scientists say that the titanosaur had unusually light bones; otherwise it could have weighed even more.
Mark Norell, the chairman of palaeontology and a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, said that the titanosaur has cancellous bones – in other words, they contain a lot of small air pockets. The bones themselves are extremely light, Norell added.
Dr. Michael Novacek, a senior vice president and provost of science at the American Museum of Natural History, said that although the newly discovered titanosaur skeleton was found in Patagonia, over the years, titanosaur fossils have been unearthed all over the world.
According to Mr. Norell, a lot of dinosaur discoveries have been made in the past twenty years. Many new species have been found in Patagonia (a sparsely populated region located in South America), Asia, and Africa.
The new discovery was made by a farmer in Patagonia. Diego Pol, former student of Mr. Norell, called him to share the good news. A team of palaeontologists led by José Luis Carballido and Diego Pol, both from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio, excavated the dinosaur skeleton over a span of several years.
Reseachers form American Museum of Natural History then went to Argentina and scanned every bone. It took them about four weeks to digitize the titanosaur skeleton.
The skeleton that will be displayed at New York’s American Museum of Natural History is actually a fibreglass casting – which was reproduced using the 3D (three dimensional) scans that the palaeontologists took in Argentina. A fossilized femur of the titanosaur will also be exhibited for several weeks at the museum.
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