Taller than a six-story building. Longer than three school buses. Ten times as heavy as an elephant. The largest dinosaur ever is coming back from extinction. What would life be like walking among these giants? How could we possibly tame these creatures? And how would they threaten to destroy human society?
In 1987, a farmer in southwestern Argentina made a discovery that shook the paleontology world to the bones. Six bones, to be more precise. And they seemed to come from the largest dinosaur to have ever existed. Argentinosaurus, or Argentine lizard, lived during the middle Cretaceous period about 90 million years ago. They were herbivorous sauropods.
That means they subsisted on a diet of plants and their bodies had distinctly long, massive necks and tails. And when I say massive, I mean massive. Though they’d start their lives as small as 5 kg (11 lb), over 40 years they would grow to be around 75,000 kg (165,000 lb). At the peak of their growth, they could have gained around 40 kg (88 lb) every day.
That means these dinos likely had a never-ending appetite that required 100,000 calories daily. So if they were alive today, would they eventually eat every plant and crop on the planet? If the Argentinosaurus managed to stage a comeback, they’d discover that their old stomping grounds in South America would look very different than they did so many millions of years ago.
The ecosystems that exist in this part of the world are completely different than they were then. This would pose a problem for the voracious leafy appetite that the Argentinosaurus had. And they wouldn’t be the only ones with an ecosystem headache. You would too. They would eat so many of our trees that they could completely alter the world as you know it.
Along with their eating habits, these creatures would bring chaos and destruction everywhere they went. Paleontologists suggest these dinosaurs were a towering 17 m (57 ft) tall and spanned 35 m (115 ft) in length. Which is a size that continues to baffle scientists, who wonder how the creatures could have managed to hold up their own giant necks.
It’s estimated that their hearts would have needed to be able to pump blood as far as 12 m (40 ft) about 50 to 60 times every minute. Combine their stature with their astounding weight and they’d destroy just about everything in their path. Homes, infrastructure, people. It would be kind of like Godzilla, only more by accident.
Especially if there were more than one Argentinosaurus. And you’d better believe there would be. With these dinosaurs roaming around, you could expect to come across one of their nesting sites on your next hike. Argentinosaurus was an egg-laying species and females could have laid anywhere from 10 to 15 eggs at a time. These wouldn’t be anything like your average chicken eggs.
They’d be as large as 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter. It’s likely that you’d need to come up with some ways to contain their growing population size. Soon enough, they could lay so many eggs that all of South America would be overrun by big dinos. If only there was a way that we could tame them like elephants and use them to our advantage.
But this would be a very dangerous task, considering their size. Not to mention our lack of knowledge about how temperamental they could have been. Besides, the conditions we’d need to keep them in would likely be inhumane. It would involve keeping them contained in areas that aren’t large enough to sustain them. But of course, we couldn’t let them wildly roam the planet wherever they wanted.
I mean, that is if you want to keep living on this planet too. You’d hopefully see conservation efforts raised to provide an area for them to wander about and live peacefully. Though coming up with a system to actually contain them would be a tough task. Electric fences could be effective, as the Argentinosaurus lacked natural body armor.
So they’d be vulnerable to shocks or injuries. But if they gathered in herds, as paleontologists suggest they would, then even more space and kilometers of electric fences could be necessary. This would also help to protect them from poachers looking to hunt down the biggest game known to man. Especially the babies, who would be left to fend for themselves as soon as they were born.
Sadly, re-introducing the largest dinosaurs to ever exist would ultimately lead to yet another attempt for humans to conquer everything in nature. So maybe we’d meet our match with a dino that has a little more of a craving for our tasty human flesh. Like if the T.rex suddenly came back from extinction.
- “Argentinosaurus | Natural History Museum”. 2022. nhm.ac.uk.
- “Armless, but Not Harmless: Bizarre New Dinosaur Species Discovered in Argentina”. James Ashworth. 2022. scitechdaily.com.
- “Meet Argentinosaurus, The World’s Biggest Dinosaur”. Bob Strauss. 2019. thoughtco.com.
- “What’s The World’s Largest Dinosaur?”. Laura Geggel. 2019. livescience.com.
- “Massive New Dinosaur Might Be The Largest Creature To Ever Roam Earth”. Harry Baker. 2021. livescience.com.