by Michael Lowrey
David Goldberg of fivethirtyeight.com offers up a fascinating look at the Amphicoelias fragillimus:
This week, the American Museum of Natural History in New York will unveil its newest exhibit to the press: the skeleton of a huge plant-eating sauropod that many paleontologists think is the largest dinosaur ever discovered. The animal is new enough that it doesn’t yet have a proper scientific name — it’s being called Titanosaur for now. It is 122 feet long and 19 feet high at the midpoint of its back, a specimen so big that its head will peek out of the great hall of the Wallach Orientation Center and into the elevator bank on the fourth floor. Its dorsal vertebrae will brush the lofty ceiling.
But in the museum’s files is buried a description of a vertebra for a dinosaur that would have been 55 percent longer than the Titanosaur — and bigger than any animal ever known. The only problem: The vertebra described has been missing for more than 100 years, and many people think that it may never have existed at all, or at least not as it was described in the first place.
You can read the rest of this tale of a strange bit of American and natural history here.