An image of Titanosaur model in the exhibition gallery

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Seven highlights of Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur

Discover seven highlights from our exhibition Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur and uncover the secrets of the largest known animal to have ever walked the planet. Size yourself up against a full size Patagotitan mayorum, marvel at its thigh bone, get up close to a genuine egg and explore today’s titans.

1. Big bones

When scientists found this massive thigh bone in Patagonia, Argentina, they knew they’d discovered something special. The thigh bone is the longest and one of the strongest bones in a dinosaur’s body and from its size and shape, this one was clearly part of an incredibly huge dinosaur. Standing proud at the beginning of our exhibition, the giant bone has been dated to be around 101 million years old.

Titanosaur thigh bone

2. A curious imprint 

In 1852 a fossilised imprint was discovered of the sauropod dinosaur of a Haestasaurus becklesii that revealed it had scaly skin. In our exhibition, you can see another, even more detailed fossilised imprint. This one is around 133-140 million years old and was found in Hastings, England.

When scientists looked closely they found that the skin had small bumps and scales that didn’t overlap and that there was a lack of sweat glands, which meant the skin would have felt warm and dry. These imprints give us an idea of what Patagotitan mayorum, also a sauropod, would have looked like.

Fossilised imprint of a sauropod

3. Mysterious egg 

The history of this titanosaur egg is a rich one. It was housed in our Mineralogy Collection for 175 years before one of our scientists realised it was in fact a dinosaur egg. It was discovered in India and is around 69 million years old. Despite titanosaur being the largest dinosaur to have walked Earth, its eggs are surprisingly small. Fragments of other eggshells indicate that this egg was in a nest with up to 40 other eggs. 

Titanosaur egg on a pink background

4. Full body replica

In the centre of our exhibition stands a full-scale replica of Patagotitan mayorum. With a long neck, stocky legs and powerful lungs, this huge, fast-growing herbivorous dinosaur was one of the largest and heaviest animals to have ever walked our planet. At a whopping 57 tonnes, it was four times heavier than Dippy the Diplodocus.

Standing at eight metres tall and reaching 37.5 metres in length - 12 metres longer than Hope our blue whale - it would have been a magnificent sight to behold as it roamed the Early Cretaceous forests 101 million years ago.

Full-scale replica of Patagotitan mayorum in Titanosaur exhibition

5. Skull secrets

A Patagotitan skull model shows a number of intriguing features. Its long neck allowed it to reach not only high up into the trees to forage in the canopy but also down close to the ground to eat plants. Using its peg shaped teeth, it stripped leaves from trees before swallowing them whole. A large area for jaw muscles indicates that Patagotitan would have had a strong grip, allowing it to pull at branches. While its eyes and nose being set back in its skull would have helped stop branches from poking into them. 

Patagotitan skull model

6. A bitten tail 

Titanosaur had a long tail that helped it with its balance and its ability to move its hind legs. On one of the replica tail vertebrate you’ll see a deep scrape where a sharp tooth has torn through the flesh down into the bone. Due to their enormous size, titanosaurs were protected from predators and often lived in large herds for extra protection.

However, an adult Tyrannosaurus rex or Abelisaurus would have been able to kill a small or medium-sized titanosaur. It’s unclear if this scrape was inflicted by a predator during a vicious attack or a scavenger feasting on the titanosaur after it died.

Titanosaur replica tail vertebrate

7. Today’s titans 

Patagotitan was more than nine times heavier than the largest land animal today - the African elephant, which weighs in at around six tonnes. Our exhibition features a video of the African savannah elephant that emphasises the importance of giving these animals the space they need to roam. With humans increasingly taking over wild spaces and impacting the climate, these giants of today need to be protected.                                                                                                                        

Model of an elephant lit up by a blue light