Argentinosaurus (meaning "Argentine lizard") is a genus of titanosaur sauropod dinosaur first discovered by Guillermo Heredia in Argentina. The generic name refers to the country in which it was discovered. The dinosaur lived on the then-island continent of South America somewhere between 97 and 93.5 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. It is among the largest known dinosaurs.
|Reconstructed skeleton, Museo Municipal Carmen Funes, Plaza Huincul, Argentina|
Bonaparte & Coria, 1993
Not much of Argentinosaurus has been recovered. The holotype (specimen number, PVPH-1) included only a series of vertebrae (six from the back, five partial vertebrae from the hip region), ribs of the right side of the hip region, a part of a rib from the flank, and the right fibula (lower leg bone). One of these vertebrae was 1.59 meters tall, and the fibula was about 1.55 meters (61 inches). In addition to these bones, an incomplete femur (upper leg bone, specimen number MLP-DP 46-VIII-21-3) is assigned to Argentinosaurus; this incomplete femur shaft has a minimum circumference of about 1.18 meters. The completed femur is estimated at around 2.5m long. By comparison, there are complete femurs preserved in other giant titanosaurs; Antarctosaurus giganteus which measures 2.35m, and Patagotitan mayorum which measures 2.38m.
The proportions of the known bones and comparisons with other sauropod relatives allow paleontologists to estimate the size of Argentinosaurus. A reconstruction by Gregory S. Paul in 1994 estimated Argentinosaurus at between 30–35 metres (98–115 ft) in length and with a weight of up to 80–100 tonnes (88–110 short tons). In 2016, Paul listed Argentinosaurus at 30 metres (98 ft) in length but with a lower weight estimate of 50+ tonnes. The skeletal mount of Argentinosaurus in Museo Carmen Funes is 39.7 metres (130 ft) long and 7.3 metres (24 ft) tall at the shoulder. This is the longest reconstruction in a museum and contains the original material, including a mostly complete fibula. Other estimates have compared the fragmentary material to relatively complete titanosaurs to help estimate the size of Argentinosaurus. In 2006, Carpenter used the more complete Saltasaurus as a guide and estimated Argentinosaurus at 30 metres (98 ft) in length. An unpublished estimate used published reconstructions of Saltasaurus, Opisthocoelicaudia, and Rapetosaurus as guides and gave shorter length estimates of between 22–26 metres (72–85 ft). Weight estimates are less common, but in 2004, Mazzetta and colleagues provided a range of 60–88 tonnes (66–97 short tons), and considered 73 tonnes (80 short tons) to be the most likely, making it the heaviest sauropod known from good material. In 2013, Sellers and Colleagues estimated a mass of 83.2 tonnes (91.7 short tons) by calculating the volume of the aforementioned Museo Carmen Funes skeleton. In 2014, Benson and colleagues estimated the mass of Argentinosaurus at 90 tonnes (99 short tons). In 2013, Scott Hartman suggested that since Argentinosaurus is a basal titanosaur, it would have a shorter tail and narrower chest than Puertasaurus, suggesting that it was slightly smaller than other giant titanosaurs such as Puertasaurus and Alamosaurus.
The first fossils identified as Argentinosaurus were found in 1989 by a rancher in Argentina, who mistook the leg for a giant piece of petrified wood. A gigantic vertebra, approximately the size of a man, was also found.
The type and only species, A. huinculensis, was described and published in 1993 by the Argentine palaeontologists José F. Bonaparte and Rodolfo Coria. It lived approximately 96 to 94 million years ago, during the late Cenomanian stage of the Upper Cretaceous period. The fossil discovery site is in the Huincul Formation of the Río Limay Subgroup in Neuquén Province, Argentina (the Huincul Formation was a member of the Río Limay Formation according to the naming of the time).
The generic name of Argentinosaurus huinculensis means "Argentine lizard." The specific name refers to Plaza Huincul, the town that the holotype specimen was discovered in.
Argentinosaurus is a titanosaurian sauropod. Bonaparte and Coria classified it in Andesauridae in 1993. In 1997, Salgado and colleagues found Argentinosaurus to belong to Titanosauridae, in an unnamed clade with Opisthocoelicaudia and an indeterminate titanosaur. A 2003 study by Wilson and Upchurch found both Andesauridae and Titanosauridae to be invalid. A 2011 study by Mannion and Calvo also found Andesauridae to be paraphyletic and recommended its disuse. In 2002, Argentinosaurus was recovered as a member of Titanosauria by Pisani and colleagues, and again found to be in a clade with Opisthocoelicaudia and an unnamed taxon, in addition to Lirainosaurus. In 2014, Kenneth Lacovara and colleagues found Argentinosaurus to be a titanosaur that was not a member of Lithostrotia. In 2016, González-Riga and colleagues also found it to be a basal titanosaur outside of Lithostrotia. A 2017 study by Carballido and colleagues recovered it as a member of Lognkosauria and the sister taxon of Patagotitan. In 2018, González Riga and colleagues also found it to belong in Lognkosauria. In 2019, a study by González Riga and colleagues found Lognkosauria to form a larger clade with Rinconsauria, which they named Colossosauria.
In 2013, in a study published in PLoS ONE on October 30, 2013 by Dr. Bill Sellers, Dr. Rodolfo Coria, Lee Margetts and colleagues, Argentinosaurus was digitally reconstructed to test its locomotion for the first time. Before computer simulations, the most common way of estimating speed was through studying bone histology and ichnology. Commonly, studies about sauropod bone histology and speed focus on the postcranial skeleton which holds many unique features, such as an enlarged process on the ulna, a wide lobe on the ilia, an inward-slanting top third of the femur, and an extremely ovoid femur shaft. Those features are useful when attempting to explain trackway patterns of graviportal animals. When studying ichnology to calculate sauropod speed, there are a few problems, such as only providing estimates for certain gaits because of preservation bias, and being subject to many more accuracy problems.
To estimate the gait and speed of Argentinosaurus, the study performed a musculoskeletal analysis combined with computer simulations. Similar analyses have previously been conducted on hominids, terror birds, and other dinosaurs. To conduct the analysis, the team had to create a digital skeleton of the animal in question, estimate the muscles and their properties, and estimate the weight and how it's distributed. Then using computer simulation and genetic algorithms, which could be optimised for metabolic energy cost or speed, the digital Argentinosaurus learns to walk. The study estimated that their 83 tonne sauropod model was mechanically competent at a top speed of 2 m/s (5 mph) but was approaching a functional limit. The study concluded that much larger terrestrial vertebrates might be possible, but would require significant body remodeling and possibly behavioral change to prevent joint collapse. The authors of the study noted that there are areas of the model that can be improved with future research, such as, gathering more data from living animals to improve the soft tissue reconstruction, using more complete sauropod specimens to confirm the studies findings, and performing sensitivity analysis.
Argentinosaurus was discovered in the Argentine Province of Neuquén. It was originally reported from the Huincul Group of the Río Limay Formation. More recently, the units have been referred to as the Huincul Formation and the Río Limay Subgroup, the latter of which is a subdivision of the Neuquén Group. The Huincul Formation is composed of yellowish and greenish sandstones of fine to medium grain, some of which are tuffaceous. These deposits likely come from the Late Cenomanian age.
In addition to Argentinosaurus, the Huincul Formation has yielded several other dinosaurs. These include other sauropods like the rebbachisaurid Cathartesaura and the titanosaur Choconsaurus. Theropods, including carcharodontosaurids such as Mapusaurus and Taurovenator, abelisauroids such as Skorpiovenator and Ilokelesia, unenlagiines, and other theropods such as Aoniraptor and Gualicho have also been discovered there. Several iguanodonts have also been found in the Huincul Formation, including Gasparinisaura and some others that have not been identified.
Aegyptosaurus meaning 'Egypt’s lizard', for the country in which it was discovered (Greek sauros meaning 'lizard') is a genus of sauropod dinosaur believed to have lived in what is now Africa, around 95 million years ago, during the mid- and late-Cretaceous Period (Albian to Cenomanian stages). Like most sauropods, it had a long neck and a small skull. The animal's long tail probably acted as a counterweight to its body mass. Aegyptosaurus was a close relative of Argentinosaurus, a much larger dinosaur found in South America.
Aegyptosaurus was described by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer in 1932. Its fossils have been found in Egypt, Niger (Farak Formation), and in several different locations in the Sahara Desert. All known examples were discovered before 1939. The fossils were stored together in Munich, but were obliterated when an Allied bombing raid destroyed the museum where they were kept in 1944, during World War II.Alamosaurus
Alamosaurus (; meaning "Ojo Alamo lizard") is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs, containing a single known species, Alamosaurus sanjuanensis, from the late Cretaceous Period of what is now southern North America. Isolated vertebrae and limb bones indicate that it reached sizes comparable to Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus, which would make it the largest dinosaur known from North America. Its fossils have been recovered from a variety of rock formations spanning the Maastrichtian age of the late Cretaceous period. Specimens of a juvenile Alamosaurus sanjuanensis have been recovered from only a few meters below the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in Texas, making it among the last surviving non-avian dinosaur species.Ameghiniana
Ameghiniana is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering palaeontology published by the Asociación Paleontológica Argentina. It is named after the 19th century Italian Argentine palaeontologist Florentino Ameghino. The discovery of many dinosaurs found in Argentina and South America have first been published in Ameghiniana; examples of this are Argentinosaurus and Herrerasaurus.Bruhathkayosaurus
Bruhathkayosaurus (; meaning "huge-bodied lizard") is a genus of dinosaur found in India. The fragmentary remains were originally described as a theropod but later publications listed it as a sauropod. Estimates by researchers exceed those of the titanosaur Argentinosaurus, as longer than 35 metres (115 ft) and weighing over 80-200 tons. All the estimates are based on the dimensions of the fossils described in Yadagiri and Ayyasami's 1987 paper, which announced the find. In 2017 it was reported that the original fossils had disintegrated and no longer exist.Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Fernbank Museum of Natural History, in Atlanta, is a museum that presents exhibitions and programming about natural history. Fernbank Museum has a number of permanent exhibitions and regularly hosts temporary exhibitions in its expansive facility, designed by Graham Gund Architects. Giants of the Mesozoic, on display in the atrium of Fernbank Museum, features a 123-foot (37 m) long Argentinosaurus, the largest dinosaur ever classified; as well as a Giganotosaurus. The permanent exhibition, A Walk Through Time in Georgia, tells the twofold story of Georgia's natural history and the development of the planet. Fernbank Museum has won several national and international awards for one of its newest permanent exhibitions, Fernbank NatureQuest, an immersive, interactive exhibition for children that was designed and produced by Thinkwell Group. The awards NatureQuest has won include the 2012 Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement for a Museum Exhibit and the 2011 Bronze Award for Best Museum Environment from Event Design. The nearby Fernbank Science Center is a separate organization operated by the DeKalb County Board of Education and is not affiliated with Fernbank Museum of Natural History (Fernbank, Inc.).Lacusovagus
Lacusovagus (meaning "lake wanderer") is a genus of azhdarchoid pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Brazil. It is based on SMNK PAL 4325, a partial upper jaw comprising sections of the skull in front of the eyes. This specimen was found in rocks of the Early Cretaceous-age (probably Aptian stage, about 120 million years ago) Nova Olinda Member of the Crato Formation. The skull was long, and unusually wide. The section in front of the combined nasal-antorbital fenestra was relatively short. Also unusual was the combination of its toothless jaws and no bony head crest. Lacusovagus was described in 2008 by Mark Witton. The type species is L. magnificens, meaning "grand lake wanderer", in reference to its large size—it is currently the largest pterosaur known from the Crato Formation with an estimated wingspan of 4.1 meters (13 feet).Lacusovagus shares many characteristics with the basal azhdarchoid family Chaoyangopteridae, and preliminary studies suggested it was a member of that clade. However, in 2017, a phylogenetic analysis found it to be within the genus Tupuxuara, a member of the Thalassodromidae. In Planet Dinosaur, Lacusovagus attacked a juvenile Argentinosaurus before it was scared away by a Skorpiovenator who managed to kill and eat the hatchling. Then with other Lacusovagus it flew around a fallen Argentinosaurus,in the episode New Giants the fifth episode of the series BBC.[Lithostrotia
Lithostrotia is a clade of derived titanosaur sauropods that lived during the Early Cretaceous and Late Cretaceous. The group was defined by Unchurch et al. in 2004 as the most recent common ancestor of Malawisaurus and Saltasaurus and all the descendants of that ancestor. Lithostrotia is derived from the Ancient Greek lithostros, meaning "inlaid with stones", referring to the fact that many known lithostrotians are preserved with osteoderms. However, osteoderms are not a distinguishing feature of the group, as the two noted by Unchurch et al. include caudal vertebrae with strongly concave front faces (procoely), although the farthest vertebrae are not procoelous.Lognkosauria
Lognkosauria is a group of giant long-necked sauropod dinosaurs within the clade Titanosauria. It includes some of the largest and heaviest dinosaurs known.Mendozasaurus
Mendozasaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur. It was a member of Titanosauria, which were massive sauropods that were common on the southern landmasses during the Cretaceous period. The titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur Mendozasaurus neguyelap is represented by several partial skeletons from a single locality within the Coniacian (lower Upper Cretaceous) Sierra Barrosa Formation in the south of Mendoza Province, northern Neuquén Basin, Argentina.
The type species, Mendozasaurus neguyelap, was described by Argentine paleontologist Bernardo Javier González Riga in 2003. Mendozasaurus is the first dinosaur named from Mendoza Province, Argentina.Museo Carmen Funes
Museo Municipal Carmen Funes, or, the Carmen Funes Municipal Museum, is a museum of paleontology in Plaza Huincul, Neuquén Province, Argentina. It is best known for its collection of dinosaur fossils, including the only specimen of the largest recorded dinosaur remains, Argentinosaurus huinculensis, and the only known sauropod embryos, which were discovered at a huge nesting site in Auca Mahuida, Patagonia. Its standard abbreviation is MCF-PVPH, or just PVPH to denote the paleontological collection.Neosauropoda
Neosauropoda is a clade within Dinosauria, coined in 1986 by Argentine paleontologist José Bonaparte and currently described as Saltasaurus loricatus, Diplodocus longus, and all animals directly descended from their most recent common ancestor. The group is composed of two subgroups: Diplodocoidea and Macronaria. Arising in the early Jurassic and persisting until the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, Neosauropoda contains the majority of sauropod genera, including genera such as Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Diplodocus. It also includes giants such as Argentinosaurus, Patagotitan and Sauroposeidon, and its members remain the largest land animals ever to have lived.When Bonaparte first coined the term Neosauropoda in 1986, he described the clade as comprising “end-Jurassic” sauropods. While Neosauropoda does appear to have originated at the end of the Jurassic period, it also includes members through the end of the Cretaceous. Neosauropoda is currently delineated by specific shared, derived characteristics rather than the time period in which its members lived. The group was further refined by Upchurch, Sereno, and Wilson, who have identified thirteen synapomorphies shared among neosauropods. As Neosauropoda is a subgroup of Sauropoda, all members also display basic sauropod traits such as large size, long necks, and columnar legs.Patagotitan
Patagotitan is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod from the Cerro Barcino Formation in Chubut Province, Patagonia, Argentina. The genus contains a single species known from multiple individuals: Patagotitan mayorum, first announced in 2014 and then validly named in 2017 by José Carballido, Diego Pol and colleagues. Contemporary studies estimated the length of the type specimen, a young adult, at 37 m (121 ft) with an approximate weight of 69 tonnes (76 tons).Planet Dinosaur
Planet Dinosaur, is a six-part documentary television series created by Nigel Paterson and Phil Dobree, produced by the BBC, and narrated by John Hurt. It first aired in the United Kingdom in 2011, with VFX studio Jellyfish Pictures as its producer. It is the first major dinosaur-related series for BBC One since Walking with Dinosaurs. There are more than 50 different prehistoric species featured, and they and their environments were created entirely as computer-generated images, for around a third of the production cost that was needed a decade earlier for Walking with Dinosaurs. Much of the series' plot is based on scientific discoveries made since Walking with Dinosaurs. The companion book to Planet Dinosaur was released on 8 September 2011, and the DVD and Blu-ray were released on 24 October 2011.Plaza Huincul
Plaza Huincul is a small city in Neuquen province, with a population of around 13,000 people, located in southwestern Argentina. It is approximately 1,288 km (800 mi) south-west from the capital, Buenos Aires. Plaza Huincul is located in the middle of the desert and grew thanks to an oil discovery in the area in 1918.It is said that the largest fossils in the world are found there; for example, the Argentinosaurs.
Plaza Huincul has an oil & gas refinery that belongs to YPF, an Argentinian oil company and it shares various common factors with the city of Cutral Có (mostly with its paleontological tourism). One of the most important roads in the province go through Plaza Huincul: National Road Number 22.
Its economy is mainly around oil & gas services. There is a growing number of farms that raise sheep and goatsPuertasaurus
Puertasaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived in South America during the Late Cretaceous Period. It is known from a single specimen recovered from sedimentary rocks of the Cerro Fortaleza Formation in southwestern Patagonia, Argentina, which probably is Campanian or Maastrichtian in age. The only species is Puertasaurus reuili. Described by the paleontologist Fernando Novas and colleagues in 2005, it was named in honor of Pablo Puerta and Santiago Reuil, who discovered and prepared the specimen. It consists of four well-preserved vertebrae, including one cervical, one dorsal, and two caudal vertebrae. Puertasaurus is a member of Titanosauria, the dominant group of sauropods during the Cretaceous.
Puertasaurus was a very large animal. Its size is difficult to estimate due of the scarcity of its remains, but current estimates place it around 30 meters (98 feet) long and 50 metric tons (55 short tons) in mass. The largest of the four preserved bones is the dorsal vertebra, which at 1.68 meters (5 ft 6 in) wide is the broadest known vertebra of any sauropod. The Cerro Fortaleza Formation is of uncertain age, due to the inconsistency of stratigraphic nomenclature in Patagonia. When Puertasaurus was alive, the Cerro Fortaleza Formation would have been a humid, forested landscape. Puertasaurus would have shared its habitat with other dinosaurs, including another large sauropod, Dreadnoughtus, in addition to other reptiles and fish.Rodolfo Coria
Rodolfo Aníbal Coria (born in Neuquén June 1, 1959), is an Argentine paleontologist.
He is best known for having directed the field study and co-naming of Argentinosaurus (possibly the world's largest land animal ever) in 1993, and Giganotosaurus (one of the largest known terrestrial carnivores), in 1996 among other landmark South American dinosaurs. He is a member of the Argentine Paleontological Association, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Paleontological Society and The Explorers Club.
He was a leading researcher at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum, in Buenos Aires, director of the Museo Carmen Funes in Plaza Huincul (Neuquén Province), from its opening in 1984 until 2007, when he joined the National Research Council of Argentina.
He and his work were featured in the movie Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (2007) and the BBC Horizon documentary Extreme Dinosaurs (2000).Sauropoda
Sauropoda ( or ), or the sauropods (; sauro- + -pod, "lizard-footed"), are a clade of saurischian ("lizard-hipped") dinosaurs. They had very long necks, long tails, small heads (relative to the rest of their body), and four thick, pillar-like legs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on land. Well-known genera include Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Mamenchisaurus.Sauropods first appeared in the late Triassic Period, where they somewhat resembled the closely related (and possibly ancestral) group "Prosauropoda". By the Late Jurassic (150 million years ago), sauropods had become widespread (especially the diplodocids and brachiosaurids). By the Late Cretaceous, those groups had mainly been replaced by the titanosaurs, which had a near-global distribution. However, as with all other non-avian dinosaurs alive at the time, the titanosaurs died out in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Fossilised remains of sauropods have been found on every continent, including Antarctica.The name Sauropoda was coined by O.C. Marsh in 1878, and is derived from Greek, meaning "lizard foot". Sauropods are one of the most recognizable groups of dinosaurs, and have become a fixture in popular culture due to their impressive size.
Complete sauropod fossil finds are rare. Many species, especially the largest, are known only from isolated and disarticulated bones. Many near-complete specimens lack heads, tail tips and limbs.Titanosauria
Titanosaurs (members of the group Titanosauria) were a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs which included Saltasaurus and Isisaurus of Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and Australia. The titanosaurs were the last surviving group of long-necked sauropods, with taxa still thriving at the time of the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous. The group includes the largest land animals known to have existed, such as Patagotitan—estimated at 37 m (121 ft) long with a weight of 69 tonnes (76 tons)—and the comparably sized Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus from the same region. The group's name alludes to the mythological Titans of Ancient Greece, via the type genus (now considered a nomen dubium) Titanosaurus. Together with the brachiosaurids and relatives, titanosaurs make up the larger clade Titanosauriformes.