Over the weekend, an Argentinian museum announced a fossil find that it had been working on since 2011, a giant sauropod that may end up being the largest dinosaur yet identified. The discovery, which includes the spectacular femur shown above, dates back 95 million years to the Mesozoic era and comes from the Patagonian area of the country.
Sauropods were herbivores, and they had a long-necked, long-tailed body that made them the lengthiest animals to have roamed the Earth. Preliminary estimates place this new species, as yet unnamed, at over 40 meters long. That may be enough for it to steal the crown as the largest dinosaur yet discovered, but as Brian Switek notes, these estimates are notoriously sensitive to things like the precise number of vertebrae in the tail. The current record-holder is a species of Amphicoelias that is estimated to be at least 40 m long.
Estimates of weight involve some assumptions about body shape. Initial estimates for the new find place it at 80,000 kg or, in the words of one paleontologist, “más de 14 elefantes africanos.” (He is Argentinian, after all.)