What does a sauropod dinosaur have in common with an old armored battleship? A name and location.
- Dreadnoughtus was discovered in Argentina and was named Dreadnoughtus, which means “fear nothing” after an early 20th century giant battleship used in the Argentine navy.
- The Dreadnoughtus was one of the largest land animals ever known, growing 85 feet from nose to tail.
- It lived during the Late Cretaceous and is thought of as a titanosaur, which means it was one of the few sauropods to live to the end of the Mesozoic Era.
- Besides being one of the biggest “long-neck” dinosaurs, Dreadnoughtus is one of the well-studied.
- Scientists have found more fossils from this dinosaur than from most others. In order for an animal’s bones to become fossilized, it must be quickly buried after death. If not, other animals often scavenge the bones, carrying them away. Scientists often have very little to work with and must make guesses about what the entire animal looked like, based on what they know about related creatures.
- The Dreadnoughtus was found mostly intact. Scientists know with certainty what 70 percent of its anatomy looked like.
- This dinosaur had short front legs and a very long neck, which stretched half the length of its body. Its tail was relatively short.
- Its legs stood firmly underneath its body like stout pillars.
Questions and Answers
Question: Did Dreadnoughtus have body armor?
Answer: Some sauropods did have body armor, but no evidence suggests this animal did. Besides, it was so huge that few predators would have tried to attack it. It literally had nothing to fear.
Watch a video from Drexel University about this huge dinosaur.