Drexel Scientists Discover Largest Dinosaur Ever

Dreadnoughtus schrani lived 77 million years ago, weighed 65 tons and was 85 feet long. Drexel's Kenneth Lacovara discovered it in Argentina.

Illustration: Jennifer  Hall

Illustration: Jennifer Hall

In a paper published Thursday in Scientific Reports, Drexel scientists announced the discovery of the largest animal ever found: Dreadnoughtus schrani, a supermassive dinosaur that lived 77 million years ago in South America. It was 85 feet long and weighed 65 tons.

Kenneth Lacovara, an associate professor at Drexel, discovered “Dread” in Argentina. “It weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. rex,” he said in a release. “It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet.”

Dreadnoughtus schrani is named after the Dreadnought battleship, in use in the early 20th century, and American entrepreneur Adam Schran (he funded the research). The fossil of this dinosaur was unearthed from 2005 to 2009.

Ken Lacovara, next to the dinosaur's right tibia

Ken Lacovara, next to the dinosaur’s right tibia

“With a body the size of a house, the weight of a herd of elephants, and a weaponized tail, Dreadnoughtus would have feared nothing,” Lacovara said. “That evokes to me a class of turn-of-the-last century battleships called the dreadnoughts, which were huge, thickly clad and virtually impervious.”

The fossils are the property of the Argentinian government, and are on loan to Drexel University. They’ll be returned to Argentina in 2015.

[Drexel | Scientific Reports]