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Dreadnoughtus

Dreadnoughtus is a genus of giant titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur which contains a single species, Dreadnoughtus schrani. D. schrani is known from two partial skeletons discovered in Upper Cretaceous (Campanian-Maastrichtian; 84–66 Ma) rocks of the Cerro Fortaleza Formation in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. It is one of the largest of all known terrestrial vertebrates, possessing the greatest mass of any land animal that can be calculated with reasonable certainty. D. schrani is known from a more complete skeleton than any other gigantic titanosaurian.

Etymology

"Dreadnought" is an English term for the predominant type of battleship in the early 20th century, deriving from the words "dread" (fear) + "nought" (nothing). According to the research team that discovered the taxon, the genus name Dreadnoughtus alludes to the gigantic body size of the taxon (which presumably rendered healthy adult individuals nearly impervious to attack)" and to the two Argentine dreadnoughts that served in the first half of the twentieth century, Rivadavia and Moreno. Thus, the genus name also honors the country in which Dreadnoughtus schrani was discovered. The name of the type species, schrani, was given in recognition of the American entrepreneur Adam Schran for his financial support of the project.

Description

The discovery of Dreadnoughtus schrani provides insight into the size and anatomy of giant titanosaurian dinosaurs, especially of the limbs and the shoulder and hip girdles. The majority of D. schrani bones are very well preserved. There is minimal deformation, especially in the limb bones. Fine features, such as locations of muscle attachment, are frequently clearly visible. It is also possible that Dreadnoughtus had large, back spines sticking out to the sides since it belongs to the lithostrotians, a class of titanosaurs that had large spines. Dreadnoughtus also has an unusually long neck for its body size, making up almost half of the animal's length.

The Land Before Time

Dreadnoughtus TLBT

Dreadnoughtus in the center of the image.

A Dreadnoughtus briefly appears in the Great Valley during in the opening of The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave. Due to it seeming to have a larger version of the model used for the franchise's Camarasaurusit is likely the result of an animation error.

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