What Animal Once Shook the Earth?
News story originally written on November 8, 1999
The answer is.... the Sauroposeidon! This name is probably not familiar, but you surely know of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Bronchiosaurus or Stegasaurus. That's right, Sauroposeidon is the latest dinosaur discovered by scientists from the University of Oklahoma. Scientists estimate the dinosaur stood 60 feet tall and weighed 60 tons! This is large enough to shake the ground. Hence, scientists named it Sauroposeidon, which means "earthquake god lizard".
"It's truly astonishing. It's arguably the largest creature ever to walk the earth,"said paleontologist Richard Cifelli of the University of Oklahoma.
Scientists say the giant lizard was similar to a giraffe, except it was 30 times bigger! It had a very long neck, with bones up to 4 feet in length. Because the bones were so long, they were filled with tiny air sacs to make the neck lighter. Otherwise, the animal wouldn't be able to lift its head to eat.
"No matter how small the dinosaur's brain was, just lifting it up was a challenge," Cifelli said. "It's remarkable how large the bones are."
Scientists say the dinosaur probably ate leaves off of trees and lived in a wet area like the Mississippi Delta. It was one of the last dinosaurs to exist, and most likely did not have any predators because it was so huge.
"By the time this guy comes along, they are dying out in North America. He is pretty much the last of his kind," Cifelli said.