From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 97–93.5 Ma
Argentinosaurus skeleton, PLoS ONE.png
Reconstructed skeleton, Museo Municipal Carmen Funes, Plaza Huincul, Argentina
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Clade: Titanosauria
Clade: Lithostrotia
Clade: Lognkosauria
Genus: Argentinosaurus
Bonaparte & Coria, 1993
Type species
Argentinosaurus huinculensis

Argentinosaurus (meaning "Argentine lizard"[1]) is a genus of titanosaur sauropod dinosaur first discovered by Guillermo Heredia in Argentina. The generic name refers to the country in which it was discovered. The dinosaur lived on the then-island continent of South America somewhere between 97 and 93.5 million years ago,[2] during the Late Cretaceous Period. It is among the largest known dinosaurs.


Hypothetical life restoration

Not much of Argentinosaurus has been recovered. The holotype (specimen number, PVPH-1) included only a series of vertebrae (six from the back, five partial vertebrae from the hip region), ribs of the right side of the hip region, a part of a rib from the flank, and the right fibula (lower leg bone). One of these vertebrae was 1.59 meters tall, and the fibula was about 1.55 meters (61 inches).[3] In addition to these bones, an incomplete femur (upper leg bone, specimen number MLP-DP 46-VIII-21-3) is assigned to Argentinosaurus; this incomplete femur shaft has a minimum circumference of about 1.18 meters. The completed femur is estimated at around 2.5m long.[4] By comparison, there are complete femurs preserved in other giant titanosaurs; Antarctosaurus giganteus which measures 2.35m, and Patagotitan mayorum which measures 2.38m.[4][5]


Skeletal reconstruction, holotype material in white, referred femoral shaft in green

The proportions of the known bones and comparisons with other sauropod relatives allow paleontologists to estimate the size of Argentinosaurus. An early reconstruction by Gregory S. Paul estimated Argentinosaurus at between 30–35 metres (98–115 ft) in length and with a weight of up to 80–100 tonnes (88–110 short tons).[6][7] In 2016 Paul listed Argentinosaurus at 30 metres in length but with a lower weight estimate of 50+ tonnes.[8] The length of the skeletal restoration mounted in Museo Carmen Funes is 39.7 metres (130 ft) long and 7.3 metres (24 ft) tall at the shoulder. This is the longest reconstruction in a museum and contains the original material, including a mostly complete fibula.[9] Other estimates have compared the fragmentary material to relatively complete titanosaurs to help estimate the size of Argentinosaurus. In 2006 Carpenter used the more complete Saltasaurus as a guide and estimated Argentinosaurus at 30 metres (98 ft) in length.[10] An unpublished estimate used published reconstructions of Saltasaurus, Opisthocoelicaudia, and Rapetosaurus as guides and gave shorter length estimates of between 22–26 metres (72–85 ft).[11] Weight estimates are less common, but Mazzetta et al. (2004) provide a range of 60–88 tonnes (66–97 short tons), and consider 73 tonnes (80 short tons) to be the most likely, making it the heaviest sauropod known from good material.[4] More recently, it was estimated at 83.2 tonnes (91.7 short tons) by calculating the volume of the aforementioned Museo Carmen Funes skeleton.[9] Scott Hartman suggests that since Argentinosaurus is a basal titanosaur, it would have a shorter tail and narrower chest than Puertasaurus, suggesting that it was slightly smaller than other giant titanosaurs such as Puertasaurus and Alamosaurus.[12]


Dorsal vertebra

The first fossils identified as Argentinosaurus were found in 1989 by a rancher in Argentina, who mistook the leg for a giant piece of petrified wood. A gigantic vertebra, approximately the size of a man, was also found.[3]

The type and only species, A. huinculensis, was described and published in 1993 by the Argentine palaeontologists José F. Bonaparte and Rodolfo Coria. It lived approximately 96 to 94 million years ago, during the late Cenomanian stage of the Upper Cretaceous period. The fossil discovery site is in the Huincul Formation of the Río Limay Subgroup in Neuquén Province, Argentina (the Huincul Formation was a member of the Río Limay Formation according to the naming of the time).[3]


The generic name of Argentinosaurus huinculensis means "Argentine lizard." The specific name refers to Plaza Huincul, the town that the holotype specimen was discovered in.[3]


Mounted skeleton of the related genus Patagotitan

Argentinosaurus is a titanosaurian sauropod. Bonaparte and Coria classified it in Andesauridae in 1993.[3] In 2016, González-Riga and colleagues found it to be a basal titanosaur outside of Lithostrotia.[13] A 2017 study by Carballido and colleagues recovered it as a member of Lognkosauria and the sister taxon of Patagotitan.[5] In 2018, González Riga and colleagues also found it to belong in Lognkosauria.[14]

The following cladogram shows the position of Argentinosaurus in Lognkosauria according to González Riga and colleagues, 2018.[14]









Biomechanics and speed

A video showing Argentinosaurus walking as estimated by computer simulations.

In 2013, in a study published in PLoS ONE on October 30, 2013 by Dr. Bill Sellers, Dr. Rodolfo Coria, Lee Margetts and colleagues, Argentinosaurus was digitally reconstructed to test its locomotion for the first time. Before computer simulations, the most common way of estimating speed was through studying bone histology and ichnology. Commonly, studies about sauropod bone histology and speed focus on the postcranial skeleton which holds many unique features, such as an enlarged process on the ulna, a wide lobe on the ilia, an inward-slanting top third of the femur, and an extremely ovoid femur shaft. Those features are useful when attempting to explain trackway patterns of graviportal animals. When studying ichnology to calculate sauropod speed, there are a few problems, such as only providing estimates for certain gaits because of preservation bias, and being subject to many more accuracy problems.[9]

Argentinosaurus femur, Museo de La Plata.

To estimate the gait and speed of Argentinosaurus, the study performed a musculoskeletal analysis and computer simulations. Previous musculoskeletal analyses and simulations have been conducted on hominids, terror birds, and other dinosaurs. To conduct the analysis, the team had to create a digital skeleton of the animal in question, estimate the muscles and their properties, and estimate the weight and how it's distributed. Then using computer simulation and genetic algorithms, which could be optimised for metabolic energy cost or speed, the digital Argentinosaurus learns to walk. The study estimated that their 83 tonne sauropod model was mechanically competent at a top speed of 2 m/s (5 mph) but was approaching a functional limit. The study concluded that much larger terrestrial vertebrates might be possible, but would require significant body remodeling and possibly behavioral change to prevent joint collapse.[9][15] The authors of the study noted that there are areas of the model that can be improved with future research, such as, gathering more data from living animals to improve the soft tissue reconstruction, using more complete sauropod specimens to confirm the studies findings, and performing sensitivity analysis.[9]


Skeletal mounts of Mapusaurus roseae, a large carnivore from the Huincul Formation

Argentinosaurus was discovered in the Argentine Province of Neuquén. It was originally reported from the Huincul Group of the Río Limay Formation.[3] More recently, the units have been referred to as the Huincul Formation and the Río Limay Subgroup. The Huincul Formation is composed of yellowish and greenish sandstones of fine to medium grain, some of which are tuffaceous.[16]

In addition to Argentinosaurus, the Huincul Formation has yielded several other dinosaurs. These include other sauropods like the rebbachisaurid Cathartesaura[17] and the titanosaur Choconsaurus.[18] Theropods, including carcharodontosaurids such as Mapusaurus[19] and Taurovenator, abelisauroids such as Skorpiovenator[20] and Ilokelesia, unenlagiines, and other theropods such as Aoniraptor and Gualicho[21] have also been discovered there.[22] Several undescribed ornithopods have also been found, including some iguanodonts.[16]


  1. ^ Haines, T.; Chambers, P. (2007). The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life. Italy: Firefly Books Ltd. pp. 118–119. ISBN 978-1-55407-181-4.
  2. ^ Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. (2012) Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, Winter 2011 Appendix.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bonaparte J, Coria R (1993). "Un nuevo y gigantesco sauropodo titanosaurio de la Formacion Rio Limay (Albiano-Cenomaniano) de la Provincia del Neuquen, Argentina". Ameghiniana (in Spanish). 30 (3): 271–282.
  4. ^ a b c Mazzetta, Gerardo V.; Christiansen, Per; Fariña, Richard A. (2004). "Giants and Bizarres: Body Size of Some Southern South American Cretaceous Dinosaurs" (PDF). Historical Biology. 16 (2–4): 71–83. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/08912960410001715132. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  5. ^ a b Carballido, José L.; et al. (2017). "A new giant titanosaur sheds light on body mass evolution among sauropod dinosaurs". Proc. R. Soc. B. 284 (1860): 20171219.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  6. ^ Paul, Gregory S. (Autumn 1994). "Big Sauropods - Really, Really Big Sauropods" (PDF). The Dinosaur Report: 12–13. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  7. ^ Paul, Gregory S. (1997). "Dinosaur models: the good, the bad, and using them to estimate the mass of dinosaurs". In Wolberg, D. L.; Stump, E.; Rosenberg, G. D. DinoFest International Proceedings. The Academy of Natural Sciences. pp. 129–154.
  8. ^ S.,, Paul, Gregory. The Princeton field guide to dinosaurs (2nd ed.). Princeton, N.J. ISBN 9781400883141. OCLC 954055249.
  9. ^ a b c d e Sellers, W. I.; Margetts, L.; Coria, R. A. B.; Manning, P. L. (2013). Carrier, David, ed. "March of the Titans: The Locomotor Capabilities of Sauropod Dinosaurs". PLoS ONE. 8 (10): e78733. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...878733S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078733. PMC 3864407. PMID 24348896.
  10. ^ Carpenter, Kenneth (2006). "Biggest of the Big: A Critical Re-Evaluation of the Mega-Sauropod Amphicoelias fragillimus Cope, 1878" (PDF). In Foster, John R.; Lucas, Spencer G. Paleontology and Geology of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation. 36. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin. pp. 131–138.
  11. ^ Mortimer, Mickey (2001-09-12). "Titanosaurs too Large?". Dinosaur Mailing List. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
  12. ^ "The biggest of the big".
  13. ^ González Riga, Bernardo J.; Lamanna, Matthew C.; Ortiz David, Leonardo D.; Calvo, Jorge O.; Coria, Juan P. (2016). "A gigantic new dinosaur from Argentina and the evolution of the sauropod hind foot". Scientific Reports. 6: 19165. doi:10.1038/srep19165. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 4725985. PMID 26777391.
  14. ^ a b Gonzalez Riga, B.J.; Mannion, P.D.; Poropat, S.F.; Ortiz David, L.; Coria, J.P. (2018). "Osteology of the Late Cretaceous Argentinean sauropod dinosaur Mendozasaurus neguyelap: implications for basal titanosaur relationships". Journal of the Linnean Society. 184 (1): 136–181. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx103.
  15. ^ "Argentinosaurus"
  16. ^ a b Leanza, Héctor A.; et al. (2004). "Cretaceous terrestrial beds from the Neuquén Basin (Argentina) and their tetrapod assemblages" (PDF). Cretaceous Research. 25 (1): 61–87.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  17. ^ de Jesus Faria, Caio César; et al. (2015). "Cretaceous sauropod diversity and taxonomic succession in South America" (PDF). Journal of South American Earth Sciences. 61: 154–163.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  18. ^ SimóN, Edith; Salgado, Leonardo; Calvo, Jorge O. (2017). "A new titanosaur sauropod from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Neuquén Province, Argentina". Ameghiniana. 55 (1): 1–29.
  19. ^ Coria, Rodolfo A.; Currie, Philip J. (2006). "A new carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina" (PDF). Geodiversitas. 28 (1): 71–11.
  20. ^ Canale, Juan I.; et al. (2009). "New carnivorous dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of NW Patagonia and the evolution of abelisaurid theropods" (PDF). Naturwissenschaften. 96 (3): 409.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  21. ^ Apesteguía, S; Smith, ND; Juárez Valieri, R; Makovicky, PJ (2016). "An Unusual New Theropod with a Didactyl Manus from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina". PLoS ONE. 11 (7): e0157793. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0157793.
  22. ^ Motta, Matías J.; et al. (2016). "New theropod fauna from the Upper Cretaceous (Huincul Formation) of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina". Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin. 71: 231–253.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)

External links

  • Brief introduction and an idea of the scale of a vertebra
  • Another brief introduction, with the restoration at Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Argentinosaurus vs. Mapusaurus
  • Argentinosaurus data sheet German with picture
  • Media related to Argentinosaurus at Wikimedia Commons
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Argentinosaurus"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA