May 9th

2009 – Dreadnoughtus arrives in Philadelphia

On this day in dinosaurs, the most complete titanosaur skeleton ever found made its way to Philadelphia’s Drexel University. Dreadnoughtus schrani became a worldwide sensation, taking a prominent place in media coverage and in the public imagination.

Dreadnoughtus skeletal elements in Drexel lab / Drexel University

After being discovered in February of 2005, Dreadnoughtus was excavated over the next several field seasons. The bones were protected in 234 plaster jackets. Together, they weighed 16 tons (which is a great deal of weight but nothing close to the 65 tons the animal may have weighed in life).

The Cap San Lorenzo, a freighter, transported the bones from Patagonia to Philadelphia. The journey took six weeks and visited a dozen South American ports along the way. Once arriving in the City of Brotherly Love, the fossils were distributed between the Drexel University laboratory, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (now also affiliated with Drexel), and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.  In 2012, the bones all returned to Drexel University for study.

Now the bones have all returned to Argentina, but the legend of Dreadnoughtus and its scientific study, continue. Share your favorite Dreadnoughtus images with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #TDIDinos.