The Heaviest Dinosaur yet Discovered from Asia

Hardly a week goes by without more exciting Dinosaur discoveries from China.  Yesterday, (July 3rd), the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing announced in a joint statement with the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences the discovery of what may prove to be Asia’s biggest ever dinosaur.

Palaeontologists working in China’s Henan Province have unearthed fossils of a large Titanosaur, so far only a few individual fossil bones have been recovered but initial estimates put the animal at an estimated 18 metres long.  Measurements of the sacrum (the region of the backbone where the transverse processes are in contact with the pelvic girdle) – roughly the hips, indicate that it is over 130 cms wide, making this the biggest sacrum known from Asia.

The specimen has yet to be fully excavated and there is a great deal more to do before the creature can be officially named and described, but this is an important find helping to provide more clues as to the evolution and diversity of the Titanosaurs in the late Cretaceous.

Titanosaurs were the last sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs), to evolve and are mostly known from the southern hemisphere and the Gondwana landmass.  Many of these animals had bizarre body armour running down their backs and flanks consisting of scutes and plates.  It is not known whether this new Titanosaur was armoured.  Armour on Titanosaurs seems a little pointless, many of these animals were so large as adults that they would have been impervious to attack.  It would have to be a pretty desperate theropod (or possibly group of theropods) to take on a herd of 20 Tonne leviathans.

To see a typical armoured Titanosaur click below:

Schleich Models etc: Dinosaur Toys for Girls and Boys – Dinosaur Models

Recently, scientists have put forward a bizarre theory for these huge animals having armour along their backs.   Perhaps this inflexible armour helped strengthen the back-bone and provide a strong anchor point under the skin for the animal’s muscles.  This armour would serve as protection as well as give support to the animal as it walked, a bit like a huge armoured corset.

Dinosaurs in corsets, now that sounds interesting.

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