STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 January 2013

Titanic Tyrants

First, I know that should say "A new group" or something, but "A new kingdom" sounds flashier, so that's why I went with that.

Today, and this week, we will look at an animal from the Chubut province of Argentina; Argentina is one of our favorite locations these days obviously. We are looking into the lives of some of the greatest predators of the Aptian age, early Cretaceous; a dinosaur related to both of the giant carnivores Giganotosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus. Reaching an estimated 12.2m (~40ft) and weighing in at an estimated range of 4 - 7 tons, this was a large predator. Thought to be more closely related to, and placed in the family of, Carcharodontosaurus, a fairly good amount of skeletal evidence has been collected in both the type and additional material procured since the type was unearthed; though no complete skeleton exists. The material was given the name Tyrannotitan chubutensis. The material was described in 2005 by Novas, de Valais, Vickers-Rich, and Rich but was a short description consisting of only 4 pages. No other studies have been published since. The type fossil consisted of incomplete dentaries and teeth, proximal tail vertebrae, vertebrae 3-8 and 11-14, most of an arm with a broken scapula, most of a leg (missing the tibia and most of the foot) with a broken femur, parts of the pelvic girdle, and some ribs and chevrons on the tail vertebrae found. Additional material has been found that include sacral vertebrae, more cervical and thoracic vertebrae, more dentary and teeth elements, a jugal (a skull bone), more tail vertebrae, another femur, some toes and fingers, and a couple more ribs. We have quite a bit of material to look at this week, and, given opportunities (such as not having videos on Monday probably), we will get to look most of it over. Say hello to some of Tyrannotitan's known remains:

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