One of the biggest dinosaurs ever found in Patagonia now lives in a 122-foot-long cast on the fourth floor of the American Museum of Natural History, with its neck extending out towards the elevator banks (he or she did not fit in the room), welcoming visitors to the fossil floors.
Discovered in 2014, this dinosaur is so new that it has not even been named yet. Scientists said the dinosaur is a sauropod, a type of massive plant-eater with a whip-like tail and long neck, but a lot bigger than the Barosaurus. Back in the day, when the Titanosaur walked around with bones and flesh, it weighed 70 tons (as much as 10 African elephants – take a moment to think about that).
Because of the monumental scale, the actual skeleton on display does not include any real fossils because they were way too heavy to mount. Instead, the bones are lightweight 3D prints made of fiberglass and based on digital copies of the original fossils, according to a press release by the museum. The cast is based on 84 fossil bones that were excavated in 2014, including a colossal 8-foot femur, which will be on a temporary display amongst other fossil bones.
In order to make room for our new friend, the museum closed the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center in September to remove the life-sized fleshed-out model of a juvenile Barosaurus that had been on display since 1996. The titanosaur has been on public display since January 15, 2016.
“While the titanosaur itself is ancient, it nevertheless embodies and reflects the very modern, dynamic, and thrilling state of paleontology today. The Museum continues to be at the forefrnot of both research about the history of life on Earth and the interpretation of the very latest discoveries for audiences of all kinds,” Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History said in a statement.
The 122-foot-long cast was created over six months by Research Casting International in Ontario, Canada in association with the Argentina’s Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio, according to the press release. The American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology is home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of its kind in the world, with 6 million specimens including more than 5 million fossil invertebrates and nearly 1 million fossil vertebrates.
Along with a series of events, public programs, exhibitions, the museum has been very active on promoting it on social media as well. On the museum’s Tumblr, you can find Titanosaur exchanging texts with the blue whale, who lives downstairs: