The genus Argentinosaurus includes some sauropod dinosaurs titanosaurids that inhabited the earth in the Cretaceous Period approximately 97 million years ago.
Argentinosaurus is really huge in comparison with the other dinosaurs, so much so that it is considered the largest dinosaur that has ever existed.
Its great size kept it safe from the large predators that existed in its ecosystem, something totally necessary considering its type of food.
Its neck would have been very long and with it it could have easily reached all kinds of vegetation, since it was an herbivorous animal.
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- This animal belongs to the Kingdom of Animalia.
- This specimen is part of the Superphylum Deuterostomia.
- The Phylum of this specimen is Chordata.
- The Subphylum of this specimen is Vertebrata.
- The Class of this dinosaur is Sauropsida.
- The Order of this specimen is Saurischia.
- The Sub-order of this creature is Sauropodomorpha.
- The infra-order of this specimen is Sauropoda.
- The family to which this specimen belongs is Andesauridae.
Discovery of this dinosaur
As we have mentioned, this animal belongs to or is part of the giant sauropods, so the size of this specimen is something to be admired, it is a giant specimen, so much so that it is one of the largest animals that has been known and studied in a profound way up to our days.
However, the fossil remains of this animal are not varied, in fact they are few in fact, and because of this the exact dimensions of this specimen cannot be determined in depth, as well as many of its physical characteristics.
In spite of this, the efforts and advances of science have allowed us to know much more about this dinosaur, overcoming the important obstacle of having found few fossil remains.
While some scientists claim that it was over 40 meters long and another group of researchers claim that it was no longer than 25 meters, the average established for this specimen is about 33 meters in length, and about the weight we can say that it weighed over 70 tons.
As we can observe and analyze, these measurements are actually monumental, so we may even be talking about one of the largest prehistoric animals in the whole planet, in fact, popularly this is the basic description that accompanies Argentinosaurus.
However, it is not possible to make such a statement officially because of the details that we have already pointed out above, lack of reliable evidence that could prove the hypotheses made.
It is for this very reason that there are various and heated debates about the size and physical description of this specimen, for many years this debate has remained and we do not believe that it will soon be extinguished.
The remains that could be preserved were found thanks to a character known as Guillermo Heredia. Everything started when this character was walking in the countryside and suddenly he noticed the existence of some strange and big elements.
Then he decided to inform the corresponding authorities of that place, we are referring to the vast territory of the Argentinean Patagonia, specifically to a specific point known as Plaza Huincul
After the authorities recognized that this was a legitimate fossil finding, the responsible professionals took the necessary measures to be able to carry out the extraction in the shortest time possible, and indeed they did so.
The fossil remains extracted are now under the conservation and care of the qualified personnel of the Museo de Funes, and another set of fossil remains were taken to La Plata, and are exhibited in the corresponding museum of course.
Based on this incredible discovery, a series of studies and analyses have been carried out that have allowed us to draw some conclusions and to issue some hypotheses about the life and development of this animal. In this way, we have been able to obtain valuable orientation data about some of its biological qualities.
But we can also know some details about the morphology of the specimen, without forgetting to mention that the taxonomy or classification of this specimen is something about which much progress has also been made since its discovery.
We must also take into account that millions of years ago, the environment in which the remains of this animal were found was quite different from the environment we can see today in Patagonia.
During the Cretaceous period, the climate was much warmer and with much more vegetation, unlike the enormous desert we can find today in that place we have already pointed out.
Characteristics of this great dinosaur
As we have already pointed out, this animal is considered to be one of the largest specimens that has ever lived on our planet, so the extent of the fossil remains that were found did not leave anyone indifferent.
These vestiges not only surprised the general public but also the scientists who were in charge of analyzing them, so in summary, the dimensions of this animal were really exceptional.
Its length would have been close to 33 meters on average, but in reality this animal could have even measured about 40 meters in total, the same happens with its weight, which could have been about 90 tons, but the average that was pointed out was only 70.
About the height of this incredible specimen we can say that if the animal managed to straighten its neck completely, it could easily be more than 16 meters.
This size that the animal possessed would probably have been of great help when it came to defending itself from other rather ferocious predators, which were abundant at that time and in that territory, so its imposing size would have saved its life not only once but several times during its entire existence.
We are talking about ferocious predators such as Giganotosaurus , which surely were on the lookout for their prey, without forgetting another predator that lived at the same time and in the same place as the Argentinosaurus, the famous Mapusaurus.
What was apparently tiny in the structure of this giant animal was the cranial area, since it was not enormous, but was actually minimized and ridiculed by the enormous size of its body.
The head of the Argentinosaurus also presented a series of dental crowns that turned out to be quite long and enjoyed a tubular shape. We also know that these crowns were perfectly designed to make direct cuts to the vegetation that was arranged in the trees at that time.
This dinosaur had a rather elongated neck, which was quite useful when it came to extracting food from the highest area of the trees. This neck was also supported by a body with many muscles and a lot of strength, so its general appearance was that of a solid and resistant animal.
In total this dinosaur had a set of four extremities, which it used in its entirety to be able to hold and move, in other words, it was a specimen of the quadruped type.
If we look at its tail, we can say that it was also of an elongated quality, which, as in other specimens, had the function of providing balance to the enormous total structure of the creature.
Not much has been achieved about the Argentinosaurus vertebrae, but of the few that were found and preserved, it may be said that the largest one presents a height of 1 meter 59 centimeters, whereas the thickness of this bone element is approximately 1 meter 29 centimeters.
Looking more closely at the vertebral structures, we can clearly see that they present some strange protuberances that scientists have called crests, while others prefer the official name of transversal apophysis.
These crests that we find in the spine of the Argentinosaurus are actually bony elements necessary for the ribs to be held in the animal’s body.
In addition, a fibula and some ribs are preserved, which are almost destroyed, in the same way as the sacrum bone, although obviously they have been used for the study of this specimen.
Regarding the bone element of the fibula, we can affirm that it was 1 meter 55 centimeters long, and we must also emphasize that at first it was thought that this bone element was in fact a tibia, so that later analyses would deny such a mistake.
What is surprising is that this animal turned out to have a slender figure, despite the enormous size it presented, the medial face was actually flat, something that is quite unusual in animals as large as the protagonist of this article.
On the other hand, a large bony element has been obtained which actually consists of a rib, which would probably have been located in the region of the thorax.
However, the only negative aspect of this element is that it was not complete and in many areas it had been fragmented, even so scientists made a great effort to try to describe it, and first of all to try to define which bone element it was.
Regarding the bone element of the sacrum, we can say that the vertebral bodies were obtained, which were in a very bad state, but it was still possible to make a deep study of the material, a study that concluded that a total of five vertebrae were fused in this area of the body.
On the other hand, we can see that this same bony element identified as sacrum, presents a strange bone tissue that was constituted by a set of macrocells of larger dimensions that were totally divided by a series of plates that turned out to be quite elongated and not very thick.
We should also remember that other direct relatives of the dinosaur featured in this article had a series of defences in the area of the back, structures known as osteoderms, and it is therefore believed that this specimen may have also had these same structures in its body.
Another fossil vestige that was found consists of a femur, which also did not turn out to be complete or in a good state of conservation, but we must point out that this bone was found in a place a little further away from the area of the initial discovery.
Although this femur was found in a different location, it has also been attributed to the dinosaur that is the subject of this article, after several exhaustive studies.
The length of this bone element found was a total of 1 meter with 18 centimeters only in the area of the axis, but the truth is that asking how long it really was is still a mystery, since the structure as a whole could not be completely fossilized due to the distal sections.
When exposing these data it becomes obvious to us that the hypotheses and the conclusions are never enough in the world of science, reason why one of its discoverers arrived to indicate that probably the total length of this element could have been of about 2 meters with 40 centimeters.
What is interesting is that after a few years, precisely four years before entering the 21st century, a renowned paleontologist identified as Joseph Bonaparte was in charge of making the statement that in reality the real size of this femur was 2.5 meters.
Similarly, other renowned scientists provided dimensions that were close to the length of this last mentioned researcher, however, these data turn out to be only hypothesis and cannot be verified in a reliable way until the present time.
In summary, the total and exact size of the animal is something impossible to determine, due to the lack of material and the lack of conservation of the materials found, so we emphasize again that most of the measures and numbers that we have provided about its size and the dimensions of its structure, turn out to be only hypothesis that could approach reality, or maybe not.
It is due to this that the efforts to find more remains about this incredible animal are still being made day by day.
That is why we all believe that we are getting closer to discovering a new set of elements that will allow us to know in depth the life and the true dimensions, characteristics and abilities of this monumental animal, which will be published and reviewed in this same website.
The feeding of the Argentinosaurus
According to the studies carried out this specimen was found to have a diet based on the consumption of herbs or vegetables, so it can be said with great certainty that it was an herbivorous specimen.
We must also take into account that the vegetables he ate most often were the famous palms, which have survived until today.
Obviously, conifers were also part of its diet, those that in prehistoric times stood out for their abundance, especially a conifer officially identified as “Araucaria”.