Forget about the terrifying T-Rex or Debbie Diplodocus – there’s a new monster in town.
Weighing in at 57 tons and spanning 121 feet from head to tail, the Natural History Museum’s new dinosaur was the heaviest animal ever to walk our planet.
Named after Patagotitan Mayor, the sheer size of this titanosaur makes other prehistoric life seem almost small.
This meant careful planning was required by museum experts, who could only fit the symmetrical skeleton inside the Waterhouse’s colossal 30-foot gallery.
This species was first discovered in 2010 by an Argentine farmer, who discovered the bones of a giant dinosaur sticking out of the dusty ground.
Weighing in at 65 tons and spanning 121 feet from head to tail, the Natural History Museum’s new dinosaur was the heaviest animal ever to walk our planet.
The skeleton is 115 feet (35 meters) long, the equivalent of four double-decker buses or a British Airways Airbus A320. This also makes it 40 feet (12 m) longer than the blue whale, Hope, currently on display in the Atrium at the Natural History Museum.
Meet the Mayor of Patagotitan
- Weigh 57 tons – nine times heavier than African savannah elephants
- 121 ft – 40 feet longer than a blue whale – and can reach a height of 39 feet
- roamed the earth 101 million years agoduring the Cretaceous period
- The femur – or thigh bone – is approaching 8 ft tall and weighs around 500 kilos.
- around 280 bones Six Patagotite individuals were combined to create one nearly complete skeleton.
- digested by the intestine 129 kg of plants each day – the equivalent of 516 round lettuce
- Their nests contained up to 40 eggs, but only one in 100 The young survive to adulthood
- Patagotitan pups look exactly like their parents – but they were 16,000 times smaller.
- Baby titanosaurs took only two months to develop 10 times hatching weight. It takes humans about 10 years to do the same.
- some 57 sharp teeth It was found among the bones of a patagotitan, likely ripped from the jaws of a tyrannotitan while searching for the cyclops’ corpse.
It turned out to be the femur – the thigh bone – which was about 8 feet long and weighed about 500 kilograms.
About 280 bones from six Patagotite individuals from the region were collected and fused to create a single, nearly complete skeleton.
Experts in Argentina used 3D scanners to make a digital copy, before creating a life-size version using polyester resin and fiberglass.
It took 32 boxes and two planes to get the precious cargo to the Museum of Natural History, where it will now make its European debut.
While a real-life Patagotitan would have weighed as much as nine African elephants when it roamed the Earth 101 million years ago, its simulated skeleton only accounts for a fraction of the weight.
But at 2.67 tons, precise placement was still essential.
“It’s so big, we had to reinforce the floor,” said Professor Paul Barrett, the museum’s chief dinosaur specialist.
Part of the discussion about how they fit in the space was actually about where to place them in relation to where the strongest parts of the floor would be.
In a show, the centerpiece is usually the last thing to come up, but we had to put this one in first and then build everything around it.
“But it’s unbelievable, it’s so amazing. I’m used to seeing big dinosaur bones but actually seeing this is a real and amazing moment for me.
It is the largest dinosaur ever shown here. And not just any dinosaur, but one of the contenders for the largest animal that ever lived.”
The exhibit also displays an original Patagotitan femur, a fossilized egg and even fossilized feces – all of which help visitors understand what life was like for the largest dinosaur.
This species was first discovered in 2010 by an Argentine farmer, who discovered a giant dinosaur bone sticking out of the dusty ground.
Titanosaurs were the last large family of sauropod dinosaurs before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, about 65 million years ago.
The museum’s curators hope the exhibition will encourage people to protect the largest animals that roam our planet today
A closer look at one of the bones in the tail reveals a deep scratch, where the sharp tooth cut into the body of the titanosaurus and into the tail bone.
Scientists can’t tell if this digging was done by a predator–most likely a large, carnivorous beast called Tyrannotitan–during an attack, or by a scavenger after it died.
Being such a huge animal meant having an enormous diet – and the Patagotitans were digesting 129 kg of coarse, prickly plants every day – the equivalent of 516 round lettuce.
Experts know that animals that chew their food couldn’t have a long neck, so they think this prehistoric beast filled its cavernous mouth before swallowing leaves whole.
Dr Alex Burch, Director of Public Programs at the Museum, said: ‘Throughout the exhibition, we explore how these relatively unknown dinosaurs managed to exist at such an incredible size and hope that visitors will enjoy the childish joy that comes with standing next to a creature like Patagotitan.
The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday, March 31 through January 2024
“To see it must be humbled by the sheer majesty and dynamism of the natural world.”
The museum’s curators hope the exhibition will encourage people to protect the largest animals that roam our planet today.
Natural History Museum Director Dr Doug Gore said: ‘There’s nothing approaching a Patagotitan walking the Earth today – so in this case, seeing is believing.
The large animals with whom we share the planet today continue to play vital roles in the ecosystem – from elephants and rhinos to blue whales – but they are increasingly at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and other devastating human impacts.
“We must connect the next generation to the natural world to protect today’s large animals before it’s too late.”
The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday, March 31 through January 2024.
What was a dinosaur, where did it come from, and where did it go for a ride?
Dippy the Dinosaur is a set of the first Dipolodocus skeleton ever found, made in the early 20th century from the original in Pennsylvania, USA.
In the displayed position, the skeleton measures 85 feet (26 m) long, 14 feet (4.3) m wide, and 13.7 feet (4.2 m) high.
When the film was unveiled at London’s Natural History Museum in 1905, the cast became a star, and has since appeared in newspaper cartoons, news reports, and even played starring roles in film and television.
When the fossilized bones were discovered by railroad workers, Debbie based in Wyoming, USA in 1898, newspapers called the discovery “the largest animal ever to have been on the face of the earth.”
Dippy is one of 10 replicas of the original in museums around the world, including Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Moscow.
Debbie, the Tyrannosaurus is a cast of Dipolodocus skeleton that was made in the early 20th century from an original in Pennsylvania, USA. When it was unveiled in London in 1905, the cast became a star, and has since appeared in newspaper cartoons, news reports, and even played starring roles in film and television. Pictured is the cast at the Natural History Museum, London, 1905
Debbie has been on display at the Natural History Museum since the early 1900s, most recently on display in Hintz Hall at the Museum’s entrance from 1979 to 2017.
In 2018, the Dinosaur Skeleton Action Team embarked on a two-year tour of the UK, visiting Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and five regions across England.
The tour aimed to connect the nation with nature and spark the imagination of a new generation of scientists, naturalists and environmentalists.
Diplodocus was a long, herbivorous species that was first described as a new species of dinosaur in 1878 by Professor Othniel C. Marsh at Yale University.
This species lived sometime between 156 and 145 million years ago and belonged to a group called sauropods, meaning “lizard-footed.”