The American Museum of Natural History Unveils The Titanosaur

titanosaur
©AMNH/D.Finnin

There’s a new dinosaur in town—so new, the Argentinian scientists who discovered it in 2014 haven’t even formally named it yet. On January 15, the American Museum of Natural History will unveil its newest, largest dinosaur to date: The 122-foot-long titanosaur—larger than both AMNH’s famous blue whale and Tyrannosaurus rex! With its soaring stature, this 70-ton herbivore (that’s the weight of 10 African elephants!) will open the minds of young children and adults alike, and perhaps inspire some young ones to become paleontologists themselves.

As visitors step out of the fourth-floor elevator, they are greeted by the titanosaur’s friendly face. Because of its massive size, the titanosaur’s 39-foot-long neck peeks through the exhibition entrance, crouching through the doorway to say hello. In the dimly-lit Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center, museum-goers can surround this giant dinosaur, not only to get an up-close view, but also to learn about its life: What it ate, how it behaved, and how it lived in Patagonia’s forests, about 100 million years ago.

Led by José Luis Carballido and Diego Pol, a team of paleontologists from Argentina’s Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio discovered the titanosaur fossils in a desert near La Flecha, 135 miles west of Trelew, Patagonia. After being tipped off by a local rancher, the team began excavating the land, and by 2014, had unearthed over 223 fossils at the site. In addition to visiting the exhibition, you can learn more about the titanosaur’s discovery in the dramatic new documentary, “Nature: Raising the Dinosaur Giant” (airing on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, at 8pm EST/7pm CST on PBS).

dino bne
© Dr. Alejandro Otero

While the awe-inspiring skeleton on display isn’t composed of any real fossils, which are too heavy to mount, this life-sized cast is made of lightweight 3D fiberglass prints based on 84 fossil bones. The cast was created over the course of more than six months at Research Casting International in Ontario, Canada, in association with the Argentina’s Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio. Standing  20 feet from the ground to its shoulder, this titanosaur is one of the largest sauropods ever discovered. And paleontologists believe that this dino was only a young adult!

In addition to the titanosaur cast, many original fossils are on display: Femur (thigh bone), forelimb (front limb), humerus, ulna, radius and scapula. You’ll get the chance to see how you measure up to the eight-ft-long femur bone!

At the exhibition’s opening, AMNH paleontologist Mark Norell emphasized how paleontology, the science of the past, can tell us something about our present. To learn more about our world, and about worlds past, head over to the American Museum of Natural History to meet New York’s newest dinosaur.

The Titanosaur will be permanently on display starting January 15, 2016 in AMNH’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center. To learn more, visit amnh.org!

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