Dreadnoughtus dwarfs 7 elephants
Researchers have been studying the remains of a dinosaur. It was bigger than seven bull elephants. The scientists call it Dreadnoughtus, or "fearing nothing."
They hope its bones will help reveal secrets about some of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth.
The four-legged beast had a long neck and powerful 29-foot tail. It stretched about 85 feet long. It weighed about 65 tons. That's more than seven times the weight of a large male African elephant.
Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University in Philadelphia found the dinosaur bones in Argentina in 2005. He said he can't claim it was the largest dinosaur known. But it's the heaviest land animal whose weigh can be determined.
The new dinosaur ate plants. The bones that were found were probably around 75 million to 77 million years old.
The creature's remains arrived in a large shipping container at a pier in Philadelphia in 2009. Since then, Lacovara and colleagues have tried to learn how the animal moved.
The bones will be returned next year to Argentina. They will be housed at a museum.
The researchers named the beast Dreadnoughtus schrani. The second name refers to an American who supported the research. The new dinosaur belongs to a poorly understood group called titanosaurs.
While no complete skull was found, the remains reveal more than 70 percent of the rest of the skeleton.
"We're getting a more complete picture of this giant animal than we have for any of the other big titanosaurs that are out there," said Kristi Curry Rogers of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Jeff Wilson of the University of Michigan called the finding "a really great specimen."
Among the questions it can help scientists investigate, he said, is what kind of body features were needed to let a dinosaur grow so huge.