STL Science Center

STL Science Center

10 February 2018

Same Hemisphere, Different Continent

©Nobu Tamura
The western hemisphere is not the only side of Earth where we find giants, but we do find a lot of them. Many of these giants come from the tropical Cretaceous of Patagonia, an era and land rich with titanosauriform sauropods. Some of these have very straightforward names (e. g. Argentinosaurus, Titanosaurus) but some have names that are nearly impossible to spell correctly on the first try, such as Futalognkosaurus dukei. Futalognkosaurus is known from a large portion of the skeleton, which is a large skeleton. The neck is composed of 14 tall, deep vertebrae leading to an estimation that the neck itself with soft tissue may have been as wide as 1 m (3.3 ft). The pubis is a 1.37 m (4.5 ft) long bone, meaning that the pelvis is amazingly enormous in this dinosaur. These bones are not the only known fossils of Futalognkosaurus. The entire known skeleton, attributed to three specimens and accounting for 70% of the total skeleton, allows for a well inferred estimation of total length. Estimations run between 26 - 30 m (85.3 - 98.4 ft) of total length for the sauropod. The name reflects the enormous estimations and is, as many dinosaur names are, derived from language of the local indigenous peoples. Mapudungun, the native language of the Mapuche people of Chile was used to name the dinosaur by Calvo, et al. in 2007 and translates to "Giant chief lizard" (pronunciation of this name is given as "foo-ta-logn-koh-sohr-us").

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