Argentinosaurus


Argentinosaurus

Taxobox
name = "Argentinosaurus"
fossil_range = mid-Cretaceous



image_width = 250px
image_caption = Replica of an "Argentinosaurus" skeleton at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Sauropsida
superordo = Dinosauria
ordo = Saurischia
subordo = Sauropodomorpha
infraordo = Sauropoda
unranked_familia = Titanosauria
genus = "Argentinosaurus"
genus_authority = Bonaparte & Coria, 1993
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision ="A. huinculensis" Bonaparte & Coria, 1993 (type

"Argentinosaurus" (meaning "Argentina lizard") was a herbivorous sauropod dinosaur genus that was among the largest land animals that ever lived. It developed on the island continent of South America during the middle of the Cretaceous Period (around 100 million years ago), after all of its more familiar Laurasian Jurassic kin — like "Apatosaurus" — had long disappeared.

Description

Not much of "Argentinosaurus" has been recovered: just some back vertebrae, tibia, fragmentary ribs, and sacrum. One vertebra had a length of 1.3 meters and the tibia was about 155 centimeters (58 inches). However, the spectacular proportions of these bones and comparisons with other sauropod relatives allow paleontologists to estimate the size of the animal. Early reconstructions estimated "Argentinosaurus" at 35 meters (115 ft) in length and a weight of perhaps 80 to 100 tonnes. More recent estimates based on "Saltasaurus", "Opisthocoelicaudia" and "Rapetosaurus" suggest sizes around 22-26 meters (72 - 85 ft). [http://dml.cmnh.org/2004Sep/msg00086.html] It is the largest dinosaur for which there exists good evidence. Although it might have been smaller than "Bruhathkayosaurus", which may have reached 44 meters (144 ft) in length and weighed 180 tons (however like "Argentinosaurus" it has been estimated shorter, at 28-34 meters (92-112 ft)), as well as the poorly known "Amphicoelias fragilimus", which may have been up to 60 meters (200 ft) long, these estimates cannot be validated due to lack of evidence.

Vast wings on the vertebrae suited the attachment of massive muscles.

Classification and history

The type species of "Argentinosaurus", "A. huinculensis", was described and published (by the Argentinian palaeontologists José F. Bonaparte and Rodolfo Coria) in 1993. Its more specific time-frame within the Cretaceous is the Albian to Cenomanian epochs, 112.2 to 93.5 million years ago. The fossil discovery site is in the Río Limay Formation in Neuquén Province, Argentina.

Museum exhibits

"Argentinosaurus" is featured prominently in the permanent exhibition Giants of the Mesozoic at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This display depicts a hypothetical encounter between "Argentinosaurus" and the carnivorous theropod dinosaur "Giganotosaurus". Contemporary fossils of Cretaceous Period plants and animals are included in the exhibition, including two species of pterosaurs, providing a snapshot of a prehistoric ecosystem in what is now the modern Patagonia region of Argentina. At convert|123|ft|m long, this skeletal reconstruction represents the largest dinosaur mount ever to be assembled.

References

*es icon cite journal |author= Bonaparte J, Coria R|year= 1993|title=Un nuevo y gigantesco sauropodo titanosaurio de la Formacion Rio Limay (Albiano-Cenomaniano) de la Provincia del Neuquen, Argentina |journal= Ameghiniana|volume=30 |issue= 3|pages=271–282
*Haines, Tim & Chambers, Paul. (2006) The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life. Canada: Firefly Books Ltd.

External links

* [http://www.hcc.hawaii.edu/~pine/Phil100/argentinosaurus.html Brief introduction and an idea of the scale of a vertebra]
* [http://www.fernbank.edu/museum/argentinosaurus.html Another brief introduction, with the restoration at Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia]
* [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060418174738.htm Argentinosaurus vs. Mapusaurus]
* [http://dinosaurier-web.de/galery/pages_a/argentinosaurus.html Argentinosaurus Data sheet german/english with picture]


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