Top 10 BIGGEST DINOSAURS To Have ROAMED EARTH
If you discount the freak shows that are our oceans, we live amongst towering wonders that pale in comparison to the behemoths that once ruled the planet. Dinosaurs once towered like buildings made of flesh and blood and we’re here to showcase ten of the largest that once roamed Earth.
Named for the lands it once roamed, this massive sauropod dwarfed everything else on the planet. Early reconstructions pegged the argentinosaurus as growing up to 115’ (35 m), but the largest reconstruction, which is mounted in the Museo Carmen Funes, stretches 130’ (39 m), beating out the titanosaur reconstructed in the New York City American Museum of Natural History by 8’. In 1987, the first argentinosaurus fossil was discovered by a rancher who had mistaken the fossilized leg as a piece of petrified wood.
Of the sauropods, the supersaurus was the tallest, reaching estimated lengths of up to 111’ (34 m). As the name suggests, this quadrupedal herbivore was imposing, to say the least, and was believed to have reached weights of up to 40 tonnes. Though it had a long neck, paleontologists believe that this diplodocid couldn’t actually lift its head too high, relying instead on its ability to sweep an area and graze closer to the ground. While its neck is long, it’s not the only impressive feature as the creature’s equally long tail, which thins out towards the tip, was thought to be used as a whip against predators.
While people lost their minds over duel in Jurassic Park III between the spinosaurus and tyrannosaurus, it really wouldn’t be too ludicrous an outcome considering the size difference between the two. At a maximum theorized length of 49’ (15 m), the spinosaurus dwarfed the T-rex by almost 10’. Sporting a long snout and long arms topped with hooked claws, this massive theropod was thought to be a largely aquatic carnivore, living on a diet of fish in the lakes and rivers of the Cretaceous.
Is it any surprise that something named giganotosaurus was among the largest of the land-based dinosaurs? Beating out the tyrannosaurus, the giganotosaurus, or giant southern lizard, grew to lengths of 43’ (13 m), though it still wasn’t the largest of the theropods. Not only larger than the Rex, this massive carnivore was thought to be faster, reaching speeds of around 20 mph (32 km/h). The giganotosaurus ruled what we now know as Argentina during the Late Cretaceous period and was initially discovered in 1993.
Though largely unknown, the oxalaia, named after Oxala of the Yoruba religion, is believed to have reached lengths of up to 45’ (14 m). Research into this spinosaurid has been completed by the sole, partial snout remains that were discovered in Brazil, specifically on Cajual Island. Based on the size estimate, oxalaia is believed to have been the longest of the South American theropods, making it larger than baryon and suchomimus.
This quadrupedal herbivore didn’t earn the title of giganteus for nothing. At peak heights, shantungosaurus could reach lengths of over 50’ (15 m), making it the largest known hadrosauroid to have lived. While its immense size intrigued paleontologists, further research into the dinosaur showed that besides being massive, it wasn’t too different from other hadrosauridae. Similar to other hadrosaurs, the shantungosaurus had a toothless beak but featured over 1,000 chewing teeth within its jaw.
The largest edmontosaurus, E. annectens, was believed to have reached lengths of up to 40’ (12 m), making it one of the largest Hadrosaurid. Study of this docile giant has been thorough as numerous specimen have been recovered since the late-19th century. With a skull of over 3’ (1 m)-long, the edmontosaurus was distinguishable by its duck-billed beak and unique skeletal structure that allowed it to both slowly walk on four legs and run at speeds of up to 28 mph (45 km/h) on just its hind legs.
Of the Stegosauria suborder, Stegosaurus ungulatus dwarfed other members at a length of almost 30’ (9 m). A favorite herbivore amongst children, the stegosaurus was a force to be reckoned with. Beyond its immense size, its tail was adorned with spikes that, depending on the species, could grow up to 3’ (1 m) long. Running along its back was a series of plates that were originally thought to be used as armor. More recent research questions their fragility and whether or not they were more for display than a deterrent of predators.
At a length of almost 30’ (9 m), the triceratops was a hulking beast that sported one of the largest skulls of terrestrial dinosaurs. Beyond its size, the triceratops skull was notable for the three incredibly dangerous horns protruding from the base of its frill. While it’s easily assumed that these 3’ (1 m)-long horns were used solely for defense, the discovery of blood vessels led to the theory that they were also a means of displaying dominance, not-too-dissimilar to the antlers of reindeer.
When it came to Pachycephalosauridae, this near 15’ (4.5m)-long domed lizard was as big as they come. For perspective, that’s about the same length as a full-sized car, and like a car, anything hit head-on by this bipedal dinosaur wouldn’t soon forget it. Known best for its domed, boney skull, what the unique feature was used for is still debated, with one side claiming it was used to butt heads like a ram. Those that feel the configuration of the dome is wrong for intra-species combat speculate it may have been a means of defense or just a method of species recognition.