Dinopedia
Advertisement
Total anky death
Extinct as can be!

This article contains plagiarized material! You can help Dinopedia out by adding more information to it, or removing/replacing any plagiarized content!


Argentinosaurus
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Dino-large large large
A restoration of Argentinosaurus huinculensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
clade: Titanosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Family: †Antarctosauridae
Genus: Argentinosaurus
Bonaparte & Coria, 1993
Species: A. huinculensis
Binomial name
Argentinosaurus huinculensis
Bonaparte & Coria, 1993

Argentinosaurus is a genus of giant sauropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Argentina. The genus contains the species A. huinculensis[1]. It might have fed on conifers, as suggested by their presence in its environment[2]. It was a titanosaur, a clade that includes some of the largest known dinosaurs. While Argentinosaurus is considered to be the largest dinosaur by many, several others including Patagotitan, Dreadnoughtus, Alamosaurus, Puertasaurus, Bruhathkayosaurus, Maraapunisaurus, and others, have been found to be contenders for the title by some estimates.

Description[]

Argentinosaurus hunt

A pack of Giganotosaurus attacking an Argentinosaurus

Argentinosaurus was an extremely large dinosaur, probably the largest in its area. Its long neck gave it a better approach than the other herbivorous dinosaurs in its areas, because it was able to feed from more various places, enhancing its feeding capabilties. Like other herbivorous dinosaurs, Argentinosaurus probably swallowed stones, better known as Gastroliths, to help grind its food, to easily turn its food into nutrition, for its massive growing rate. Argentinosaurus probably used its size as primary defense against giant predators like Mapusaurus, or Giganotosaurus, and its also reckoned that the Argentinosaurus could rear up on its hind legs to make itself look bigger.

Many sources document that the Argentinosaurus bred, a lot. To ensure the survival of its species, and with direct fossil evidence from Patagonia (massive breeding site), it would've have frequent nesting times.

Classification[]

Relationships within Titanosauria are amongst the least understood of all groups of dinosaurs. Traditionally, the majority of sauropod fossils from the Cretaceous had been referred to a single family, the Titanosauridae, which has been in use since 1893. In their 1993 first description of Argentinosaurus, Bonaparte and Coria noted it differed from typical titanosaurids in having hyposphene-hypantrum articulations. As these articulations were also present in the titanosaurids Andesaurus and Epachthosaurus, Bonaparte and Coria proposed a separate family for the three genera, the Andesauridae. Both families were united into a new, higher group called Titanosauria.

In 1997, Salgado and colleagues found Argentinosaurus to belong to Titanosauridae in an unnamed clade with Opisthocoelicaudia and an indeterminate titanosaur. In 2002, Davide Pisani and colleagues recovered Argentinosaurus as a member of Titanosauria, and again found it to be in a clade with Opisthocoelicaudia and an unnamed taxon, in addition to Lirainosaurus. A 2003 study by Jeffrey Wilson and Paul Upchurch found both Titanosauridae and Andesauridae to be invalid; the Titanosauridae because it was based on the dubious genus Titanosaurus and the Andesauridae because it was defined on plesiomorphies (primitive features) rather than on synapomorphies (newly evolved features that distinguish the group from related groups). A 2011 study by Philip Mannion and Calvo found Andesauridae to be paraphyletic (excluding some of the group's descendants) and likewise recommended its disuse.

In 2004, Upchurch and colleagues introduced a new group called Lithostrotia that included the more derived (evolved) members of Titanosauria. Argentinosaurus was classified outside this group and thus as a more basal ("primitive") titanosaurian. The basal position within Titanosauria was confirmed by a number of subsequent studies. In 2007, Calvo and colleagues named Futalognkosaurus; they found it to form a clade with Mendozasaurus and named it Lognkosauria. A 2017 study by Carballido and colleagues recovered Argentinosaurus as a member of Lognkosauria and the sister taxon of Patagotitan. In 2018, González Riga and colleagues also found it to belong in Lognkosauria, which in turn was found to belong to Lithostrotia.

Another 2018 study by Hesham Sallam and colleagues found two different phylogenetic positions for Argentinosaurus based on two data sets. They did not recover it as a lognkosaurian but as either a basal titanosaur or a sister taxon of the more derived Epachthosaurus. In 2019, Julian Silva Junior and colleagues found Argentinosaurus to belong to Lognkosauria once again; they recovered Lognkosauria and Rinconsauria (another group generally included in Titanosauria) to be outside Titanosauria. Another 2019 study by González Riga and colleagues also found Argentinosaurus to belong to Lognkosauria; they found this group to form a larger clade with Rinconsauria within Titanosauria, which they named Colossosauria.

Paleobiology[]

The giant size of Argentinosaurus and other sauropods was likely made possible by a combination of factors; these include fast and energy-efficient feeding allowed for by the long neck and lack of mastication, fast growth and fast population recovery due to their many small offspring. Advantages of giant sizes would likely have included the ability to keep food inside the digestive tract for lengthy periods to extract a maximum of energy, and increased protection against predators. Sauropods were oviparous (egg-laying). In 2016, Mark Hallett and Matthew Wedel stated that the eggs of Argentinosaurus were probably only 1 litre (0.26 US gal) in volume, and that a hatched Argentinosaurus was no longer than 1 metre (3.3 ft) and not heavier than 5 kilograms (11 lb). The largest sauropods increased their size by five orders of magnitude after hatching, more than in any other amniote animals. Hallett and Wedel argued size increases in the evolution of sauropods were commonly followed by size increases of their predators, theropod dinosaurs. Argentinosaurus might have been preyed on by Mapusaurus, which is among the largest theropods known. Mapusaurus is known from at least seven individuals found together, raising the possibility that this theropod hunted in packs to bring down large prey including Argentinosaurus.

In 2013, Sellers and colleagues used a computer model of the skeleton and muscles of Argentinosaurus to study its speed and gait. Before computer simulations, the only way of estimating speeds of dinosaurs was through studying anatomy and trackways. The computer model was based on a laser scan of a mounted skeletal reconstruction on display at the Museo Carmen Funes. Muscles and their properties were based on comparisons with living animals; the final model had a mass of 83 tonnes (91 short tons). Using computer simulation and machine learning techniques, which found a combination of movements that minimised energy requirements, the digital Argentinosaurus learned to walk. The optimal gait found by the algorithms was close to a pace (forelimb and hind limb on the same side of the body move simultaneously). The model reached a top speed of just over 2 m/s (7.2 km/h, 5 mph). The authors concluded with its giant size, Argentinosaurus reached a functional limit. Much larger terrestrial vertebrates might be possible but would require different body shapes and possibly behavioural change to prevent joint collapse. The authors of the study cautioned the model is not fully realistic and too simplistic, and that it could be improved in many areas. For further studies, more data from living animals is needed to improve the soft tissue reconstruction, and the model needs to be confirmed based on more complete sauropod specimens.

Paleoenvironment[]

Argentinosaurus was discovered in the Argentine Province of Neuquén. It was originally reported from the Huincul Group of the Río Limay Formation, which have since become known as the Huincul Formation and the Río Limay Subgroup, the latter of which is a subdivision of the Neuquén Group. This unit is located in the Neuquén Basin in Patagonia. The Huincul Formation is composed of yellowish and greenish sandstones of fine-to-medium grain, some of which are tuffaceous. These deposits were laid down during the Upper Cretaceous, either in the middle Cenomanian to early Turonian stages or the early Turonian to late Santonian. The deposits represent the drainage system of a braided river.

Fossilised pollen indicates a wide variety of plants was present in the Huincul Formation. A study of the El Zampal section of the formation found hornworts, liverworts, ferns, Selaginellales, possible Noeggerathiales, gymnosperms (including gnetophytes and conifers), and angiosperms (flowering plants), in addition to several pollen grains of unknown affinities. The Huincul Formation is among the richest Patagonian vertebrate associations, preserving fish including dipnoans and gar, chelid turtles, squamates, sphenodonts, neosuchian crocodilians, and a wide variety of dinosaurs. Vertebrates are most commonly found in the lower, and therefore older, part of the formation.

In addition to Argentinosaurus, the sauropods of the Huincul Formation are represented by another titanosaur, Choconsaurus, and several rebbachisaurids including Cathartesaura, Limaysaurus, and some unnamed species. Theropods including carcharodontosaurids such as Mapusaurus, abelisaurids including Skorpiovenator, Ilokelesia, and Tralkasaurus, noasaurids such as Huinculsaurus, paravians such as Overoraptor, and other theropods such as Aoniraptor and Gualicho have also been discovered there. Several iguanodonts are also present in the Huincul Formation.

In Popular Culture[]

  • 10 MainImage

    Giants of Patagonia Argentinosaurus

    Argentinosaurus was featured in a Walking with Dinosaurs special, Land of Giants, where Nigel Marvin tries to find them and see how they lived and survived from predators like Giganotosaurus.
  • Argentinosaurus is the main focus in the second chapter of Wonderbook: Walking with Dinosaurs game with a dad and son called Storm and Thunder.
  • They were also in the BBC documentary Planet Dinosaur, where a herd of them is attacked by a pack/gang of Mapusaurus.
  • It was a main character named Strong One in the IMAX movie, Dinosaurs, Giants of Patagonia.
  • It also appears in Jurassic World: The Game as a common herbivore.
  • Argentinosaurus appears in Jurassic World: Alive as a rare dinosaur.
  • Argentinosaurus appeared on Dinosaur Train.
  • Argentinosaurus appears in Dino Lab ll.
  • An individual named Argentina also appears in the Dora episode, Dora & Diego in the Time of Dinosaurs.
  • Argentinosaurs appears in Prehistoric Kingdom.

Gallery[]

Argentinosaurus/Gallery


References[]

Websites:

Documentaries

DinoLab 2

Advertisement