May 31st

2001 – Paralititan announced in Philadelphia

On this day in dinosaurs, an African behemoth was unveiled for the first time. A team of researchers announced the discovery of sauropod skeletal remains, including a 5 and a 1/2 foot humerus, belonging to an animal that may have weighed as much as 60 tons.

Paralititan / Wikimedia Commons

Paralititan means “tidal giant” and the animal’s species name, stromeri, honors Ernest Stromer, the German baron who lost his African dinosaur fossils to allied bombs during World War II. “Stromer’s tidal giant” lived 94 million years ago in what is now the Sahara. Back then, North Africa was a large river system teeming with gigantic predators who all needed prey. A “60 ton steak” would have done nicely.

Paleontologists estimate that Paralititan was between 80 and 100 feet long, making it one of the largest animals ever to walk the earth. Its remains were scavenged by predators, but enough of the beast survived to make its identification as a sauropod clear. It may have been related to South American titanosaurs, like Argentinosaurus.

The team of researchers who discovered the bones in the Sahara presented their find to the public at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

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