Titanosaur Footprint In Gobi Desert Is One Of The Largest Ever Found

Professor Shinobu Ishigaki of Okayama University of Science poses next to the Titanosaur footprint in the Gobi Desert. Okayama University of Science

As of 2014, there has only been one major fossil discovery of a titanosaur that was relatively intact. Many of the remains of these long-necked, plant-eating giants are highly fragmented, and this limits researchers in their understanding of these relatively gentle giants.

Clearly, though, they were very successful at surviving, with some estimates placing their range at 90 to 66 million years, pretty lengthy for any group of dinosaurs. For comparison, the predatory Spinosaurus only lived for 15 million years, between 112 and 97 million years ago.

The titanosaur owner of this cast would have been so huge that almost any apex predator living alongside it would have found it incredible hard trying to take it down, if not impossible. Indeed, having been found on four continents including Antarctica – which was far warmer and greener at the time – this group of meandering titans would have fought off an incredibly diverse range of hungry carnivores.

Their legendary sizes haven’t gone amiss by the paleontological community. One such titanosaur discovery was given the scientific name Dreadnoughtus schrani, the genus of which means “fear nothing”. It’s amazing that such enormous monsters can result from eggs no more than 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) in diameter. Seeing a herd of these would give any ravenous dinosaur hoping for a sauropod supper pause for thought.

An artist's rendering of a herd of Alamosaurus, a type of titanosaur. Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock

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