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Temporal range: Mid - Upper Cretaceous ~100-93.5 mya
Skeletal reconstruction at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Infraorder: Sauropoda
(unranked): Titanosauria
Genus: Argentinosaurus

Argentinosaurus was a titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur. It was an enormous, long-necked, long-tailed, quadrupedal, plant-eater from Argentina, South America during the Upper Cretaceous period. It is known as the largest and heaviest dinosaur from good material, along with Puertasaurus and Dreadnoughtus. It's fossils and bones were unearthed from the Huincul Formation.

Argentinosaurus meaning "Argentina lizard", was named by paleontologists Rodolfo Coria & José Bonaparte in 1993. It is known from fossilized back vertebrae, tibia, ribs and sacrum. It may be the largest dinosaur,[1] but its remains are so incomplete that palaeontologists prefer to use Saltasaurus and other Titanosaurs for their calculations. An accurate estimate was got for the much more complete sub-adult Dreadnoughtus.[2][3]Argentinosaurus is closely related to Puertasaurus and Futalognkosaurus as well as Dreadnoughtus.

An Argentinosaurus model in Israel.
A reconstructed skeleton of Argentinosaurus in the Carmen Funes Museum.
Comparison of the different giant sauropods including Argentinosaurus (red).
Argentinosaurus size comparison to human (35 metres (115 feet)) in length.
The biggest Titanosaurs, including Argentinosaurus (green).
Argentinosaurus size comparison.

Description[change | change source]

An Argentinosaurus skeletal restoration at the Carmen Funes Museum in Argentina.

Argentinosaurus was a colossal Sauropod dinosaur famously known from Argentina due to its name. At around 30-35 metres (98-115 feet) in length and 80-100 tons (88-110 short tons), Argentinosaurus is most commonly known as the largest dinosaur ever. Some say that it could grow even up to 40 metres long, but mostly is estimated between 30-35 metres (98-115 feet) long. The restored skeleton in the Carmen Funes Museum is at 39.7 metres long and 7.3 metres tall it the shoulder. Argentinosaurus's features show that it's a Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur more closely related to Puertasaurus and Futalognkosaurus as well as Dreadnoughtus and Andesaurus.

Discovery and naming[change | change source]

Argentinosaurus was discovered in 1987 by Guillermo Heredia and was named by José Bonaparte and Rodolfo Coria in 1993. From the Huincul Formation or the Rio Limay Subgroup, Argentinosaurus is one of the main and largest dinosaurs. Today many Argentinosaurus bones and fossils are restored in the Carmen Funes Museum and La Plata Museum, both from Argentina.

An Argentinosaurus femur, La Plata Museum, Argentina.

Size and estimates[change | change source]

Skeletal diagram

Due to the incompleteness of the skeleton and bones there has been a lot of estimates and disagreement about it. At the start Gregory S. Paul estimated Argentinosaurus between 30-35 (98-115 feet) metres long and 80-100 tonnes (88-110 short tonnes). The length of the restored skeleton in the Museo Carmen Funes is 39.7 metres (130 feet) long and 7.3 metres (24 feet) tall at the shoulder. In 2006 Carpenter used Saltasaurus as a guide and estimated Argentinosaurus at 30 metres (98 feet) long. Weight estimates are less common, but Mazzetta et al. (2004) provided a weight range of 60-88 tonnes (66-97 short tonnes). Recent estimates have been around 83.2 tonnes while most likely 90 tonnes as a rough weight estimate and 22-35 metres long as a rough length estimate making it one of the largest dinosaurs known from good material.

There has been many argues between estimates and here are some:

  • Thomas Holtz: 120 feet (36.6 meters)[4]
  • Mickey Mortimer: 22–26 meters.[1]

Classification[change | change source]

Argentinosaurus is classified mainly between Titanosauria, but more specific the Lognkosaurian subfamily close to Puertasaurus, Futalognkosaurus and Dreadnoughtus. Argentinosaurus is also related to Andesaurus, another Titanosaurian from Argentina. Argentinosaurus was initially classified as an antarctosaurid, but recently, paleontologists have uncovered more fossils and bones that suggests that Argentinosaurus is classified between the Lognkosauria subfamily.

Reconstructed skeleton of the Argentinosaurus at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

Paleoecology[change | change source]

Argentinosaurus lived in a humid place with conifers, ferns and a lot more vegetation to eat. This was around 97-93.5 million years ago in the Upper Cretaceous, but some paleontologists believe that Argentinosaurus started to exist around 100 million years ago. It was still a dangerous site, because there were predators even bigger than Tyrannosaurus such as Giganotosaurus and Mapusaurus. Alongside Argentinosaurus there were much smaller herbivores like Cathartesaura and Gasparinisaura. To defend itself from predators, Argentinosaurus had a whip-like tail and strong front limbs; they also live in herds of 20 or more.

The Parque Nacional Conguillio, where Argentinosaurus lived around 95 million years ago or more.

Gallery (images)[change | change source]

An Argentinosaurus vertebrae (left) and Puertasaurus vertebrae (right).
Life restoration of Argentinosaurus
Argentinosaurus skeleton in different phases.
An Argentinosaurus vertebra showing its bottom side.
Argentinosaurus model in Israel.
Replica of an Argentinosaurus skeleton in the Naturmuseum Senckenberg.
Skeletal reconstruction.
An Argentinosaurus femur restorated.

In Popular Culture[change | change source]

Argentinosaurus appears in several documentaries and cartoons such as Planet Dinosaur where it is preyed by Mapusaurus. It also appears at the Walking with Dinosaurs special, (Chased by Dinosaurs) where it is shown as a prey of Giganotosaurus. The Dinosaurs Giants of Patagonia also shows Argentinosaurus preyed by Giganotosaurus and how was named by Rodolfo Coria. Argentinosaurus is represented in the cartoons Extreme Dinosaurs and Dinosaur Train, which the characters are Arnie and his dad.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mortimer, Mickey (2001-09-12). "Titanosaurs too large?". Dinosaur Mailing List. [1]
  2. Lacovara, Kenneth J. et al (2014). "A gigantic, exceptionally complete titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from southern Patagonia, Argentina". Scientific Reports. doi:10.1038/srep06196. 
  3. Campione, Nicolás E.; Evans, David C. (2012). "A universal scaling relationship between body mass and proximal limb bone dimensions in quadrupedal terrestrial tetrapods". BMC Biology: 15. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-60. 
  4. Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. 2012. Dinosaurs: the most complete, up-to-date encyclopedia for dinosaur lovers of all ages [2].