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Bruhathkayosaurus ( /brˌhæθk.ɵˈsɔrəs/; meaning "huge bodied lizard") might have been the largest dinosaur that ever lived. The accuracy of this claim, however, has been mired in controversy and debate. All the estimates are based on Yadagiri and Ayyasami's 1989 paper, which announced the find.[1]

The authors originally classified the dinosaur as a theropod, a member of a large group of bipedal, mostly carnivorous dinosaurs that includes Tyrannosaurus, but several unpublished opinions beginning in 1995 suggested that the remains actually belonged to a sauropod (probably a titanosaur), a member of a very different group of quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and tails such as Brachiosaurus. In 2006, the first published reference to Bruhathkayosaurus as a sauropod appeared in a survey of Malagasy vertebrates by David Krause and colleagues.[2]

Until the remains are properly described, the validity of the genus and any size estimates will be questionable. It came from India and is currently the largest Asian sauropod.


According to the published description, the shin bone (tibia) of Bruhathkayosaurus is 2 m (6.6 ft) long. This is 29 percent larger than the tibia of Argentinosaurus, which is only 1.55 m (5.08 ft) long. Comparing the bones in the upper forelimb gives a similar result. While the humerus of Bruhathkayosaurus is incomplete, it is extrapolated to have been 2.34 m (7.68 ft) long. This is 30 percent larger than the humerus of Argentinosaurus, which is 1.81 m (5.94 ft) long.

No total body size estimates for Bruhathkayosaurus have been published, but paleontologists and researchers have posted tentative estimates on the Internet. One early estimate by Mickey Mortimer estimated that Bruhathkayosaurus could have reached 40–44 m (130–145 ft) in length and to have weighed 175–220 tons.[3] However, Mortimer later retracted these estimates, reducing his estimated length of Bruhathkayosaurus to 28–34 m (90–110 ft), and declined to provide a new weight estimate, describing the older mass estimates as inaccurate.[4][5] In a May 2008 article for the weblog Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week, paleontologist Matt Wedel used a comparison with Argentinosaurus and calculated the weight of Bruhathkayosaurus at up to 139 tons.[6]

By comparison, the titanosaur Argentinosaurus is estimated to have reached 34.6 m (114 ft) in length, and to have weighed 80–100 tons. Another huge titanosaurid, Paralititan, was probably 31.9 m (105 ft) long, and weighed 65–80 tons.[7] All of these sauropods are known only from partial or fragmentary remains, so the size estimates are uncertain. Length is calculated by comparing existing bones to the bones of similar dinosaurs, which are known from more complete skeletons and scaling them up isometrically. However, such extrapolation can never be more than an educated guess and the length of the tail, in particular, is often hard to judge. Determining mass is even more difficult, because little evidence of soft tissues survives in the fossil record. In addition, isometric scaling is based on the assumption that body proportions remain the same, which is not necessarily the case. In particular, the proportions of the titanosaurs are not well known, due to a limited number of relatively complete specimens.

If the size estimates for Bruhathkayosaurus are accurate, the only other animal approaching its size would be the Blue Whale. Mature Blue Whales can reach 30 m (98 ft) in length,[8] which is a little shorter than Bruhathkayosaurus, but the record-holder Blue Whale weighed in at 176 tons,[9] which is probably heavier than Bruhathkayosaurus.

Among the dinosaurs, only another poorly known specimen may approach or exceed Bruhathkayosaurus in size. Edward Drinker Cope's Amphicoelias fragillimus would have been longer, reaching 56–62 m (185–200 ft) in length, but it was a slender diplodocid, weighing only 120 tons. However, the only bone recovered (a massive vertebra) is now missing, and only a description and drawing of the specimen remain.[10]

Credit to Wikipedia for the article.

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