In DepthPaleontology

How some of the world's biggest dinosaurs got that way

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Science  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6260, pp. 492-493
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6260.492

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Paleontologists and the public alike have long been fascinated by the great titanosaurs, long necked sauropods which include the largest creatures ever to walk the earth. For example, Argentinosaurus, a South American species, stretched nearly 40 meters long from head to tail, and weighed more than 70 tons—as much as 15 adult elephants and more than twice as much as the classic sauropod, Apatosaurus. Yet the titanosaur fossil record has been pretty scrappy—just three complete skulls have been found—leaving major mysteries about these behemoths. In particular, researchers still need to learn more about how and why they grew so big, and how they managed to move their massive bodies. The picture is beginning to fill in, however. At a special session at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Dallas, Texas, researchers presented new fossils that chart titanosaur growth and development from embryo to adult, including a spectacular egg, a rare juvenile, and a modeling study of how titanosaur adults moved their massive necks.

  • * in Dallas, Texas