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Biggest Dinosaur Yet Discovered

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the we're-gonna-need-a-bigger-boat dept.

News 113

An anonymous reader quote the BBC: "Fossilised bones of a dinosaur believed to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth have been unearthed in Argentina, palaeontologists say. Based on its huge thigh bones, it was 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall. Weighing in at 77 tonnes, it was as heavy as 14 African elephants, and seven tonnes heavier than the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus. Scientists believe it is a new species of titanosaur — an enormous herbivore dating from the Late Cretaceous period. A local farm worker first stumbled on the remains in the desert near La Flecha, about 250km (135 miles) west of Trelew, Patagonia."

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Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025631)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026913)

You've had an opportunity to write "you're a pal and a coelacanth" and you screwed it!

Re:Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47030397)

Or camposaur.

advice to those who name dinosaurs (3, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about 5 months ago | (#47025643)

quit using synonyms for very big. it's getting tedious. thank you.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025669)

Can't say I'm very impressed with "Argentinosaurus" either.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (4, Funny)

mr_resident (222932) | about 5 months ago | (#47025705)

Aw come on, what about "HUMUNGOSAURUS"? That sounds pretty bad-ass.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 5 months ago | (#47025765)

without the "saurus" on the end sounds even more bad-ass, and then could be name for something other than a dino

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 5 months ago | (#47027147)

A super villain or old-timey wrestler maybe...

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47030747)

Give him x number of horns and make it -cerotops
How badass is that?
Hed have to breath fire or have Gatling guns mounted to get any badder!

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47031807)

Give him x number of horns

There is no reported evidence for horns on this fossil. In fact, in the whole Sauropodomorpha, there's only moderate evidence for skull crests and the like, but no horns at all, I'm afraid (as far as I can remember ; IANA sauropod palaeontologist).

Do you think people just make this stuff up?

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025945)

It makes such a cute name for my ex-wife!

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 5 months ago | (#47026209)

the rest of us here already were calling her that; well, her ass anyway

Exwifeosaurus (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 months ago | (#47027565)

...now that sounds scary

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#47030729)

It always makes me wonder how the new discovery must taste ,steak on grill. Lizard is generally one of the tastes like chicken critters, but by the time you get up to gator its got a pleasant uniqueness. Gimme a Steakosaurus Rex! If they ever recoup some $ from genetic research/farting around , it would be to resurrect some delicious species to mass consumables level.
The oddest meats can just be excellent. I could go on to the shock and horror of many, but we will keep this on topic.
Alligator is good, therefore larger Dinos may be outrageously delicious.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (2)

asifyoucare (302582) | about 5 months ago | (#47031689)

Aw come on, what about "HUMUNGOSAURUS"? That sounds pretty bad-ass.

Humungosauras? that's what I had after the vindaloo.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025813)

How much do you want to bet Argentiniousaurus is made up of the bones of several other dinosaurs, has two heads, three tails, and 8 testicles?

Because that's what these people do you see.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

aled (228417) | about 5 months ago | (#47026005)

really? I didn't know that. Care to elaborate and give some examples of Argentine false scientific discoveries? because I'm from Argentina and know nothing about it.
thanks

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

cb88 (1410145) | about 5 months ago | (#47026401)

It isn't specific to any single group of paleontologists. The theory is that scientists like to name dinosaurs, so whenever they find one that looks a bit different they make up a new name rather than trying to figure out if it is just another development stage of a previously discovered dinosaur. This is perfectly understandable taking human nature into consideration.

There is a TED talk by Jack Horner that covers the topic. http://www.ted.com/talks/jack_horner_shape_shifting_dinosaurs

Jack explains how he has proven than many differently named dinosaurs are acutally the same ... he also explains a bit of the thoght process that causes this to happen.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026591)

What would be the blood pressure necessary for these things to get blood to the brain?

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 5 months ago | (#47029437)

This, I am assuming, is also why there are a trillion different names for pot these days. I recently bought something called "Seal Team 303". It was nice, but I know that in probably less than two years, nobody will know what that "strain" is, because everything will have new names again.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47031955)

Jack explains how he has proven than many differently named dinosaurs are acutally the same

Horner has described a well-known problem in systematics - not just in palaeontology. Colloquially, it is known as the "lumpers versus splitters" problem (lumping multiple specimens into one "bucket" taxon versus splitting up your finds on the basis of small differences) ; it's a genuine problem throughout systematics. Unfortunately, when you've got living specimens you can go back to the field, find more, look at genes, look at biochemistry, observe changes in form and shape with development from infant to maturity ... you can do a lot of things with living species. With palaeontology, you've got the bones. That's it ; end of evidence.

Horner's work on Torosaurus versus Triceratops is interesting. He makes a good case that they form a bimodal distribution of both size and form. However you can get that sort of distribution from EITHER one species that changes form with growth OR from two species which are closely related. Horner hasn't convinced the palaeontological establishment that his proposition is correct (though he has made a strong case).

When you did your early training in palaeontology, did you do the exercise of taking a bucket of cockles (Cardium sp., or whatever is convenient to your country) from the beach and trying to sort them to determine how many species there are? It's surprisingly difficult - if you haven't done it before. Which is why it would have been an exercise in one of your early palaeontology (or zoology) labs.

Give Horner a decade or two and he might win his argument - he's certainly made a good strong case to start with. Unfortunately, with just a hundred or so specimens to work from, he's not in a good position to get to a significance of 0.95, let alone 0.99. So it's going to take time and a lot more fossils to really make his case. "proven" is a big word. Horner hasn't proven his proposition.

I refer the honourable gentleman to the comments I made up-thread to the millions of fossils examined in a typical oil well (such as I drill for my living) : the numbers of microfossils we can acquire and examine is why we use these fossils instead of fossils which can exceed a millimetre in dimension.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026427)

Also don't forget that evolution is a lie, carbon dating doesn't work, and that God put fake bones in the ground to test your faith. Stop believing in these fairy tales, you fools!

Also, you guys are welcome over to my house on Sunday to discuss facts like how we never landed on the moon and reptilians are secretly controlling society.

Advice to those who use Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025837)

Quit being a bunch of nancy boy faggots.

Re:Advice to those who use Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47028421)

Tough men LOVE viruses.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026121)

quit using synonyms for very big. it's getting tedious. thank you.

that's what she said.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

fluffy_1969 (804227) | about 5 months ago | (#47026297)

Hm... microsoftsaur... hopeful the lastone will die soon....

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

D'Sphitz (699604) | about 5 months ago | (#47026707)

Well it hasn't quite reached the stupidity of "unobtainium" yet...

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026733)

They could have gone into plaidsaurus directly.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 5 months ago | (#47026741)

Right! They could just start using synonyms for "very funny" and "great personality". Also, if thigh size is the determining factor in overall size Mrs. Wolowitz (mother of Howard Joel Wolowitz) may have them beat...

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 5 months ago | (#47027895)

Just wait until we get to Ginormasaurus, then maybe Megalosaurus!!!

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 5 months ago | (#47030871)

Megalosaurus [wikipedia.org] already exists. Its original scientific name was "Scrotum humanum [wikimedia.org] ". No, I'm not making this up.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032259)

That may still be it's proper name, with Megalosaurus a junior synonym. There was a petition to suppress Scrotum humanum in favour of Megalosaurus bucklandii on the grounds that the former name hadn't been used in published work since 1899, but that petition was turned down. So the possibility remains for Megalosaurus to be suppressed in favour of a senior synonym.

I doubt that it'll happen though. It might cause as much of a stink as suppression of Brontosaurus.

There is however considerable grounds for thinking that a revision of Megalosaurus in general is on the cards - there are reports of bimodality in previously published material, which might indicate that the material comes from two species (or from two sexual dimorphs of one species). Someone is looking at it, but I'm not going to spend $40 to read their papers.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 5 months ago | (#47034001)

The chances of "Scrotum Humanum" being accepted as a taxon are essentially nil.

We can accept silly names in the scientific community when they are not important, but when they're so central to understanding dinosaurs, and their discovery by modern man, silly names give idiots ammunition.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47034729)

Fear of giving idiots ammunition is not a valid reason for declaring a name invalid. Unless the ICZN have brought out a new revision recently ; if so, enlighten me!

There's a damned good reason for thinking long and hard before revising rule books : once you've revised the rule you've got to live with it's consequences. Or you admit that you were an idiot to vote for the revision.

This is science. Not populism. Or politics.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#47030407)

I agree, it's so exponentially annoying that it literally makes my blood boil.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032331)

I think that you've been figuratively breathing too much vacuum recently.

Re:advice to those who name dinosaurs (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47031787)

quit using synonyms for very big. it's getting tedious.

Firstly, "titan" is only a synonym for "very big" if you're ignorant of any culture other than modern American culture. There's a seam of both ancestors and descendants of the Titan pantheon to be explored if you want some different-sounding synonyms.

Secondly, the ICZN rules (you do know who the ICZN are, and what their relevance to this is, don't you? Of course you do - you raised the subject.) express a preference for Greek or Latin roots for names. Though, you do have a point in that they're much more welcoming of names based on other languages these decades, because all the Greek and Latin is getting a bit repetitive. So if you find a new, very large dinosaur completely unrelated to all other dinosaurs, then you're free to use a synonym for "very big" from Navajho, Nahuatl, or Nincompoopese.

But there you come to the "thirdly" : if re-analysis of your new fossil shows (in the opinion of other palaeontologists or zoologists, not in your opinion) that your Nuahuatal-biggie-o-saurus is actually a member of, say, the titanosaur clade, or even of a member of a previously named species or genus, then the overriding rule of nomenclature, precedence, comes into play and your new species gets re-assigned to the previously defined group. You can continue to call it whatever you want, but if other people have won the argument and call it something different, your papers may be rejected ("does not use generally accepted nomenclature"), and eventually you'll die and your folly will barely rate a line in an unpublished obituary.

The genus "Titanosaurus" was erected in 1877 to include the newly-described species Titanosaurus indicus. So good luck with preceding that. If you can do it, I would suggest that your time machine might just possibly earn you more, and longer-lasting fame then the revision of sauropod taxonomy which inspired it - in the same way that Teflon frying pans are more important than the Moon-landing programme that inspired them.

Your ignorance of the rules of taxonomic nomenclature aside (since most non-life-scientists don't have to deal with these, you're by no means alone in your ignorance), there is a valid point that the taxonomy of the Titanosauridae in particular and the Sauropodomorpha in general is a bit of a mess. That's the result, unfortunately, of a long history of incomplete and fragmentary fossils being described and published as "new species" when there's only really one (rarely two) specimens of this alleged new species. So we may well have many dubious taxa (though taxonomically valid) where the holotype material is actually just (say) a juvenile of a different species, or the other gender of another species (changes in form with age and differentiation between genders being pretty common in vertebrates in general - humans are relatively un-differentiated compared to even our closest relatives, so general experience isn't a good guide here). Unfortunately, with the quality and quantity of fossil material available, that's not a situation which is likely to improve much - largely because you can get dozens or hundreds of complete (e.g.) Compsognathus specimens from the same tonnage of preserved bone as produces one (insufficiently informative) sauropod femur.

But, if the situation really offends you, you can do something about it : learn your taxonomy ; apply yourself to the anatomy of sauropods (and other megafauna, if you want, and have time) ; do a thorough, convincing and compelling re-analysis of every sauropod fossil you can find (the first, IIRC, was reported during the Civil War. 1640 or so.) ; then work out a convincing, comprehensive and correct re-classification of the whole group. And don't publish a word of it until you've got your whole monograph ready to publish - otherwise you'll find yourself hoist on your own petard of having published on inadequate data and you won't be able to retract your publication. Then, finally, publish.

You'll be beating the sauropod taxonomy groupies off you with a stick! Both of them. (It's an overwhelmingly male profession : enjoy!)

Oh - you could consider approaching the oil industry for funding for this work. Expect it to take 5 or 6 decades of travelling the world to collect the data, and several decades more to collate it and prepare for publication. The oil business has found one sauropod fossil in drilling (a partial knee in core from the Norwegian Sea, in the early 1990s), while a typical well uses a million or two microfossils, each under a millimetre in any dimension, to refine stratigraphic understanding. So that would b e some trillions of fossils used throughout the whole business. That is why we employ micropalaeontologists, not megapalaeontologists (I'll have a crew of 4 coming on board later this month).

I can't understand this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025675)

Can you give me a size reference in school buses, swimming pools or football fields? And not those European ones, Gridiron please.

Re:I can't understand this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025975)

Can you give me a size reference in school buses, swimming pools or football fields? And not those European ones, Gridiron please.

how about giving size references in equivalent to a certain number of fat fucking American assholes :P

Re:I can't understand this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026091)

Can you give me a size reference in school buses, swimming pools or football fields? And not those European ones, Gridiron please.

how about giving size references in equivalent to a certain number of fat fucking American assholes :P

Nah, use Mexicans instead. Mexico is fatter than the US [huffingtonpost.co.uk] , so the number will be smaller and easier for your simple mind to understand.

Re:I can't understand this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47029421)

Mexicans are Americans

Re:I can't understand this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026227)

how about giving size references in equivalent to a certain number of fat fucking American assholes :P

ok it's aproximately 3 americans in size

not Another New one! (-1, Flamebait)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 5 months ago | (#47025707)

this is getting to be like Transformers...

Re:not Another New one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47028239)

More like Pokemon than transformers.

Good thing it wasn't in Toronto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025779)

Titanosaur Robfordus just doesn't have that ring to it...

Re:Good thing it wasn't in Toronto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025943)

Titanosaur Robfordus just doesn't have that ring to it...

Shouldn't that be a big-mouth crackasaur?

But good christians don't believe in dinosaurs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47025885)

So therefore they don't exist right?

Re:But good christians don't believe in dinosaurs! (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032303)

Correct - good Christians don't exist.

Analogy (2)

William Robinson (875390) | about 5 months ago | (#47025917)

it was as heavy as 14 African elephants

Next time, could you please use car analogy?

Re:Analogy (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 5 months ago | (#47026011)

14 elephant-sized cars?

Re:Analogy (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 5 months ago | (#47027169)

An elephant sized car will typically weight more than an elephant...also that is a very large car depending on the species of elephant...

I can feel a monty python sketch coming on...

Re:Analogy (4, Funny)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 5 months ago | (#47026373)

It was as heavy as a truck carrying 13 African elephants.

Re:Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47029383)

Parent cannot be modded high enough. Spit out my beer.

Re:Analogy (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032319)

It's as heavy as a very light truck carrying 13 African international standard elephants.

Re:Analogy (1)

bkmoore (1910118) | about 5 months ago | (#47026697)

it was as heavy as 14 African elephants

Next time, could you please use car analogy?

Let me get the banjo music going... It's like the relationship between your childhood Tonka truck with an up-armored MIL-SPEC- HMMWV.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026235)

Promotion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026399)

Right on time for Gozilla's promotion !
Coincidence ? I think not !

I doubt it weighted THAT much (1)

sribe (304414) | about 5 months ago | (#47026477)

It wasn't fat, it was big-boned!

silly words (1)

epine (68316) | about 5 months ago | (#47026573)

With a small herd of these pet pandasauri—and an enormous harvest of coprolignum—one could well up the Great Wall of China in record time. It would still required great hordes or workers, but the workers would be highly obedient. Anyone who slacks off would have their highly-prized long-handled trowel promptly confiscated. With no hall pass, it's crenellation duty for you. From there it's years fighting your way up the rank just to obtain the corner-pocket edge-finishing tool.

It peed 2 olympic sized swimming pools too? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 5 months ago | (#47026725)

Or did it weigh as much as 50 F150 trucks? Come one, we have a metric system for a reason on this planet.

Re:It peed 2 olympic sized swimming pools too? (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 5 months ago | (#47027903)

Metric would be Lamborghini tractors or VW Beetles, not Ford, you ignorant clod!!

Re:It peed 2 olympic sized swimming pools too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47034617)

you do realise the majority of Fords construction is done in metric countries right?

Expect the Republicans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026895)

to bury this story like they do all of the others because their kind is incapable of understanding that dinosaurs existed. They punish people that are smarter than themselves, and that is most people.

Re:Expect the Republicans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47029435)

retard

Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (3, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about 5 months ago | (#47026915)

We know that mass generally increases with the cube of a creature's height, and the tensile strength of bone can only support so much pressure from a creature's own weight, so it seems that if there should be some limit to how large a creature in earth's gravity can be (and, for the sake of argument, not being provided any additional buoyancy due to being under water, for instance). This particular creature is alleged over 60 feet tall, and more than 10 times the height of a man, which makes it more than 1000 times the mass of a human. Cross sectional area generally increases with the square of height difference, meaning that more than 10 times as much pressure would be exerted on every square inch of a lateral cross section of bone as what human bones endure. Now granted, this creature was not shaped like a man, and having four legs instead of just two could give it some additional advantage in this department. Additionally, it could have denser bones, capable of supporting more weight, but denser bone structure in turn requires more muscle mass to move, and will tend to further increase the creature's size. Still, it seems like there's still got to be a maximum possible size. Does anyone know what this might be?

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47026963)

depends on how strong gravity is at a given time! For us now it's about 9.81m/s2. For these dinos who knows, 2 or 3m/s2 ?

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47027193)

You suggesting the Earth rotated much faster back then? 12 hour days?

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about 5 months ago | (#47029859)

No, the Earth was younger then, and therefore smaller. Now that we've passed the middle ages, we can expect Earth to slowly begin shrinking due to magma-porosis.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 5 months ago | (#47030735)

The Earth's rotation is slowing, mainly due to the tidal forces from the Moon. Current measurements estimate the length of the day increasing at 1.7 milliseconds per century.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 months ago | (#47027595)

Bones are not the only thing that is dense.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47027933)

The atmosphere of the earth was most likely a bit thicker back then (that would also explain the higher temperatures), but even that alone could not explain the sizes of these things. Most likely they did spend most time in water and there is some other assumption that is off.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#47028509)

This animal must have been partially aquatic. Otherwise it is difficult to believe it could actually walk on the earth without some help from the buoyancy provided by water. Since it still has a fully developed femur, it is not totally aquatic like the cetaceans. Must be similar to the hippopotami.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032447)

This animal must have been partially aquatic.

Speaking as a geologist, I keep the word "must" locked up in a drawer, the handle of which is wired to the mains to deliver an electric shock every time I touch it, and a loudspeaker booms out "Are you sure? 'MUST??' Are you really absolutely sure?" But then again, my pay cheque depends on being confident of the correctness of what I say, because back-tracking harms my client's confidence in what I say.

Otherwise it is difficult to believe it could actually walk on the earth without some help from the buoyancy provided by water.

The published accounts describe it's environment as "forest". Not "swamp". Nor "lake". Nor even "riparian" (which means river side). Since that's the opinion of a team of geologist who've been vworking this bed for some months, and would have been doing detailed sedimentology logs across the bed, microfossil analysis, grains size tracking, examination of ichnofossils associated with the remains as well as studying the regional context for kilometres around. So I suspect that what they really mean is "a forest environment . Not "swamp". Nor "lake". Nor even "riparian" (which still means river side)."

Contrary to what you may have been taught in school, people do not go around pulling these phrases out of their arses - they look for evidence of the environment, then describe it and publish it with references to the curated samples locations (museum, acquisition number), so that people who disagree can go and look at the rocks for themselves.

Since it still has a fully developed femur, it is not totally aquatic like the cetaceans. Must be similar to the hippopotami.

Elephants also have fully developed femurs and are occasionally aquatic (and also occasionally forest-dwelling ,and occasionally savannah-dewlling ; in fact, they're quite flexible!). But they don't look like hippopotami. There's that "must" word in there again. Do you have some really good reason for using that word?

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47033465)

What assumptions are used in identifying the environment that, if incorrect, would destroy the whole argument?

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 5 months ago | (#47028727)

I'd substitute "compressive" for "tensile", but yes, I'd imagine this fellow spent a lot of time wallowing in mud, a behavior I believe is ascribed to some other dinos.

The square/cube relation certainly affects birds: the larger ones have to employ soaring techniques to extract energy from air movement, in order to find food.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 5 months ago | (#47031005)

This particular creature is alleged over 60 feet tall, and more than 10 times the height of a man, which makes it more than 1000 times the mass of a human.

Well.... no. If we take human height to be 2m and weight to be 100kg (This is me, by the way, I've just used these numbers for simplicity) :

Elephant = 4 metres or so, 2 * height, therefore should weigh 800kg. Actually, they weigh about 7000kg.

Giraffe = 6 metres or so, 3 * height, therefore should weigh 2700kg. Actually, they weigh about 1200kg.

The early estimates of this dinosaur's weight are about 77000kg, so not too far off your estimate. Most of its height is in its long neck.

People have been claiming that giant sauropods must have been semi-aquatic (or fully aquatic) because of their huge size for centuries, and this was the prevailing paradigm until the last 50 years or so. There's quite a lot of evidence now showing that they were at least mainly terrestrial.

As to how big they could get... simple mechanical engineering was the cause of the now mainly discredited aquatic theories, I think you'll probably have to find someone who actually knows a little about it.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47032413)

"There's quite a lot of evidence now showing that they were at least mainly terrestrial."

What is it?

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 5 months ago | (#47033931)

This [royalsocie...ishing.org] paper is probably the most influential.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47034871)

I guess I don't know what "mostly terrestrial" means. That paper made it sound like they hung out in water up to their chest most of the time.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032483)

People have been claiming that giant sauropods must have been semi-aquatic (or fully aquatic) because of their huge size for centuries, and this was the prevailing paradigm until the last 50 years or so. There's quite a lot of evidence now showing that they were at least mainly terrestrial.

Someone who doesn't use "must" when they mean "possibly,maybe,perhaps"! Excellent!

TFA describes the environment as "forest". Which is not incompatible with an elephantine lifestyle, since they live in forests - and also on savannahs, and are known to enjoy a good wallow in the mud from time to time, and to swim across rivers too.

Using the elephantine parallel, I'd anticipate that like many other animals on the planet, they had a quite broad behavioural repertoire, and since they'd have gone through quite a lot of food, they probably had to be moving frequently. Which would mean moving into differing environments regularly.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 5 months ago | (#47034133)

Anything this big will be able to eat what it wants, generally. This is seen with elephants now.

Climate change and predation on young are about the only things that can stop massive herbivores.

That is, until humanity. There's lots of evidence for stone age people wiping out swathes of huge mammals, for good cause some of the time.

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47034705)

There's lots of evidence for stone age people wiping out swathes of huge mammals, for good cause some of the time.

There are pretty fair correlations in a number of places that the arrival of humans and the disappearance of the "megafauna" are coincident to within a few tens of generations.

And what is the mantra to chant when you hear the word "correlation"? All together now : "correlations are not, of themselves, evidence for causation."

There's also no reason not to think that a large part of the effect of humans on the megafauna was by killing the young. They're easier, after all. And the adults will keep on producing more young. (Yes, there are mass kill sites, of megafauna of all ages ; but is that sort of operation the mean, or the most effectual method of population control?) But ... how does the arrival of the first humans in America lead to the (approximately coincident, to a few centuries) extinction of the megafauna in continental Europe where they'd been interacting with humans for hundreds of thousands of years? Just because it's on Discovery Channel, and it tells a nice, simple story (in 10 minute segments, between the adverts), doesn't mean that it's true.

The "good cause" thing is just so laden with cultural assumptions. Are you really, totally happy that the mammoths are extinct? Smilodon? The cave bear? (Assuming, for the moment, that the "human overkill" hypothesis is correct, which I consider undemonstrated at this time.)

Re:Does anyone know what the largest possible is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47032629)

We know that mass generally increases with the cube of a creature's height, and the tensile strength of bone can only support so much pressure from a creature's own weight, so it seems that if there should be some limit to how large a creature in earth's gravity can be (and, for the sake of argument, not being provided any additional buoyancy due to being under water, for instance). This particular creature is alleged over 60 feet tall, and more than 10 times the height of a man, which makes it more than 1000 times the mass of a human. Cross sectional area generally increases with the square of height difference, meaning that more than 10 times as much pressure would be exerted on every square inch of a lateral cross section of bone as what human bones endure. Now granted, this creature was not shaped like a man, and having four legs instead of just two could give it some additional advantage in this department. Additionally, it could have denser bones, capable of supporting more weight, but denser bone structure in turn requires more muscle mass to move, and will tend to further increase the creature's size. Still, it seems like there's still got to be a maximum possible size. Does anyone know what this might be?

Theoretically there is a maximum size, but if someone finds a bone suggesting an even larger animal then my theory is wrong.

Late Cretaceous were difficult times for sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47027417)

I can only imagine the poor dog working his balls into sweat to bury this bone.

Dinosaurs what were they (-1, Troll)

Aaron Hall (3344047) | about 5 months ago | (#47027873)

I just wanted to share a theory of mine about dinosaurs have you ever watched the Flintstones? How about ancient aliens? Well lets suppose there was an advanced race that came to the earth back then and they decided that they needed to build. Its not like they had manufacturing plants to put together a crane some bulldozers or a backhoe however they may have had highly advanced DNA technology allowing them to grow their industrial tools in test tubes (very large test tubes) They could have very well been using certain breeds as war machines to maintain control over the humans and forced them to warship them as Gods. In every religion the clergy all consider themselves lowly servants of their God. I think there word is more like slave not servant. If you were on a space expedition and landed on a primitive planet would it not make since to start gathering energy resources and building shelter. I think we were used as beasts of burden doing chores for them like mining and farming. After the flood we were made to fight in their wars as they scrambled around trying to unearth their buried technologies. The Kings of old were celebrated as Gods. Over time the word God I think altered its meaning to something more than what it used to mean and I think it used to mean the 1 in charge or master.

Re:Dinosaurs what were they (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#47027947)

I just wanted to share a theory of mine about dinosaurs have you ever watched the Flintstones? How about ancient aliens?

Dude! Pass me that joint and the Fritos, man!

Re:Dinosaurs what were they (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 5 months ago | (#47028083)

Funny that you mention Fred Flintstone.

I was just thinking, 'bout an hour ago, about how Fred's 'car', to me, as a kid
looked like (had the same shape as) the provice of Gelderland in Holland.
I forget whether Fred's car was running to the left or to the right.

So now I'm off to google & wikipedia, to do a comparative analysis of said
province and aforementioned 'car', in order to finally put to rest a thought
that's been a 'cognitive harmonic' to me for some 45 odd years.

My choice (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#47027929)

Newtasaurus Gingrichii?

paleontologists: prepare for the long tail? (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 5 months ago | (#47028029)

"(...) largest creature ever to walk the Earth have been unearthed (...)"

If some words, manifestly "to this date" or something synonymous to them, are not
missing here, then article's author should prepare to travel to Norway for imminent
Nobel prize.

Re:paleontologists: prepare for the long tail? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032513)

Personally, I'd blame the BBC's science journalists for that. Using too short a timescale is something that gets my geological ire up too, and many of my colleagues.

Cool down, false alarm. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#47028495)

Don't worry guys, it is just some ancient dinosaur hardly 77 tons in weight and about six stories tall. It can never challenge the current holder of the title "The Biggest Dinosaur", Microsoft.

Charlie's moving up in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47029063)

After this interview, Dr. Pol asked several laborers to check for Ghouls, then retired to his quarters for milksteak and jelly beans.

Everyone can relax. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47029277)

It's only a category III Kaiju...

Biggest integer yet to be found! (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | about 5 months ago | (#47029329)

You know, no matter how large a dinosaur you find, how can you prove that it's the largest?

Not without digging up every cubic meter of the Earth's crust to some reasonable depth.

Re:Biggest integer yet to be found! (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | about 5 months ago | (#47031407)

even then you can't, it's not like every animal (and we are limited to those with extensive bone structures) gets fossilized. If that were the case, fossils would be much easier to come across and much more complete.

Mutant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47029697)

Any chance this is a one-off? Maybe a brontosaurus that happened to have gigantism? I understand they can do some DNA analysis and all, but I'm curious how a single bone find can lead to the implication of a whole new species.

One bone to rule them all (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#47030897)

They do say that Jacob was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel - one bone for a whole new species, so to speak.

Re:Mutant? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032569)

RTFA.

They discovered, in a restricted area, around 150 bones from at least 7 individuals.

Which dispenses with your last phrase as well.

I understand they can do some DNA analysis and all

A very small number of specimens have been found with collagen and traces of not-incompatible-with-dinosaur DNA. But they were in very fine-grained rocks (silt to clay grade), which tends to inhibit the drying of the material and it's access to oxygen.

From the photos in TFA (which you evidently didn't R), the sediment is reddish and contains white fragments to several centimetres in size ; I interpret that (wearing my hard hat as a professional geologist) as suggesting a well oxidised sediment (from the generally red colour) with granules of carbonate which probably grew in the soil contemporaneously with the deposition and early taphonomy of the bones as they gradually fossilised - a caliche-like deposit. That requires reasonable movement of fluids through the sediment in order to bring the carbonate together.

Both fluid movement and oxidation are bad for preservation of organic material in general, including DNA. I very much doubt that they'd get any ancient DNA out of this material. (They're not excavating in sterile garments, so modern DNA is a near certainty.)

Bible already says! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47029999)

Maybe the Behemoth that the Bible talks about. Dinosaurs or dragons were created 6 thousand years ago at the same time as everything else. Most destroyed in the worldwide flood 4400 years ago. If the earth were flatter there is enough water on the planet to cover everything over a mile deep. The mountains were formed during the flood. There is no scientific evidence for evolution. Watch Kent Hovinds movies on youtube.

Re:Bible already says! (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47032575)

Watch Kent Hovinds movies on youtube.

He's released a series on "How to fail at tax evasion and go to jail for it", has he?

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