In the spring of 2014, an Argentine farmer in the Patagonian desert was looking for his lost sheep when he stumbled across an oddly shaped ledge. Scientists were then called in to investigate, and discovered that the ledge was in fact the 8-ft thigh bone of what would turn out to be a 122-foot-long Titanosaur, the largest animal ever to walk the Earth. Now, for anyone wanting to get a glance of this massive prehistoric creature up close, a 3D-printed replica is currently being displayed at the American Museum of Natural History.
The location where the titanosaur was discovered in the Patagonian desert has become one of the most important excavation sites in over 100 years. A team led by José Luis Carballido and Diego Pol from the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio in Argentina spent over 18 months excavating the site, slowly unearthing what would turn out to be not only a completely new species, but, at an estimated 37 meters in length and weighed 70 metric tons, also the largest known animal to have ever walked the planet. Additionally mind-blowing for the team was the discovery that seven more titanosaurs died in the exact same location at different times, approximately 101.6 million years ago.
Titanosaurs were herbivores known for their small heads, long necks, thick legs and whip-like tails, which essentially made them look like giant lizards. The titanosaur skeleton currently on display at the museum was cast using 3D-printed fiberglass from 84 of the unearthed bones and stands at almost 20-feet-tall from the ground to its shoulder. In fact, the display is so tall that the dinosaur’s 39-foot-long neck and head stick out of its gallery space, welcoming visitors as they exit the elevator.
If you’d like to size up the titanosaur for yourself, hightail it over to the American Museum of Natural History today.
Photos via American Museum of Natural History Facebook