Scientists unearth 65-ton dinosaur

PHILADELPHIA — It weighed as much as eight school buses.

Its neck looked like a section of oil pipeline. Its thigh bone alone was as big as a grown man.

Say hello to Dreadnoughtus schrani.

Drexel University scientists announced Thursday they had unearthed the heaviest known dinosaur for which a weight can be accurately calculated.

In many cases, the fossils of giant dinosaurs are largely incomplete, preventing scientists from making good estimates about their size, movement and other characteristics. This one, found in southern Patagonia in Argentina, was unusually well preserved, with the scientists able to recover close to half of its 250-odd bones.

By measuring the circumference of the thigh bone and upper arm bone, the researchers calculated that this beast weighed more than 65 tons. And it was not done growing, as evidenced by shoulder bones that had yet to fuse together, said team leader Kenneth Lacovara, an associate professor of paleontology and geology at Drexel.

Lacovara named the animal after the dreadnought class of battleships from the early 20th century, so nicknamed because they feared nothing — dreaded naught. This dinosaur was so big that few predators would have dared to attack it, Lacovara said. But if one of them did, the dinosaur could have responded with a smack of its muscular, 29-foot tail.

“It essentially had a weaponized tail,” Lacovara said.

The “schrani” portion of the name is a tribute to Philadelphia tech entrepreneur Adam Schran, who helped fund the research.

The new find will contribute to scientists’ understanding of how the biggest land animals moved, and how they could sustain themselves — likely by gorging on tens of thousands of calories’ worth of leaves and plant matter every day, Lacovara said.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
A local connection to history

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson remembers The Post’s Katharine Graham, who visited several times.

Most Read