“Hey, we discovered a giant new dinosaur that weighed 130,000 pounds! What should we call it?”
“I don’t know. How about we name it after a battleship that weighed 40,000,000 pounds?”
Thus, Dreadnoughtus schrani got its name. Actually, the name literally means “fear nothing,” which is about equally as badass. Nicknamed “Dread,” its newly-discovered, fairly complete skeleton makes it the largest known land animal that we have enough data to measure.
Like Brachiosarus, Dread was a quadruped with a long neck and tail that spanned 85 feet end-to-end. According to the lead author on its study, Kenneth Lacovara, Dread “weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. rex” and had no known predators—probably because its would-be hunters didn’t want to get stepped on or kicked with its giant back foot spears while Dread was looking around for more food to eat.
Lacovara estimates that it was so hungry it could’ve eaten a horse—no, seriously, its stomach was probably big enough to fit a horse. Dread ate plants, though, and it would’ve needed to eat so much to sustain itself that it likely just stood in one spot and swung its neck around all day to feed and then just moved a few steps over when it had eaten everything it could reach.
So probably it enjoyed its existence basically outside of the food chain as an inert, benevolent god doing nothing but eating—like the people in Wall-E, but without those nifty hoverchairs. That’s OK, though. If it had a hoverchair, it would’ve been able to get away from the flash flood that caused it to sink into the Earth and become well-preserved enough for us to learn about it, and then we’d never have known how unassailably awesome it was.
(via Discovery News, image via Jurassic Park)
- There’s another recently discovered dinosaur named after a man-eating clown monster
- A new pterosaur was recently discovered, too
- A man was arrested for trying to smuggle dinosaur bones into the U.S.