The new species of dinosaur doesn’t have a name yet, but scientists think it was the largest dinosaur that ever lived.
The fossilized remains belong to a type of titanosaur that roamed what is now southern Argentina some 95 million years ago.
The giant reptile was 40 meters long and weighed up to 80 tons, scientists said.
“It’s like two semi trucks, one after another, and the equivalent of more than 14 African elephants together in weight,” said José Luis Carballido, who led a team of researchers from Argentina’s Egidio Freuglio Museum of Palaeontology in a statement. “It’s a real paleontological treasure. There were many and they were intact, which does not happen often.”
Since the site contains the remains of seven adults titanosaurs, scientists think they may have congregated at a watering hole during a period of drought, dying, perhaps, of dehydration.
So far, researchers have found part of the neck and much of the back, most of the vertebrae of the tail and fore and hind legs, among other bones. Moreover, there were 60 large teeth of large carnivorous dinosaurs mixed in.
Carballido said it might have been a feast for scavengers like the Tyrannotitan
But the feast came at a high price, he said, adding that the carnivores would have probably lost teeth biting through the hard skin and flesh of the giants. The lost teeth would have grown back.
As with any newly discovered species of dinosaur, there could be revisions about the giant’s size. For example, the previous largest dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus, was estimated to weigh 100 tons, but that was later reduced to 70 upon further study.
‘‘Based on what is known of the animal, it was certainly very, very large,’’ paleontologist John Whitlock of Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania said.
‘‘Just how large may have to wait for more fossils and will probably depend on the method used to estimate its total size — we’ve seen how much estimates of mass can change for fragmentary animals like Argentinosaurus — but right now it would certainly seem to be a strong contender for largest known sauropod,’’ Whitlock said.
More discoveries could be in the offing as researchers said they’ve only uncovered about 20 percent of the site.