The World's Largest Dinosaurs
April 16, 2011 - January 2, 2012
April 16, 2011 - January 2, 2012
The huge dinosaurs called sauropods astound us. So massive! So tall! Such long necks and tiny heads! But more astounding is this: these strange giants rank among Earth’s great success stories, roaming the planet for 140 million years. Today, scientists from many fields have joined in an effort to figure out how they did it. Paleontologists, biologists, botanists, animal nutritionists, and engineers all agree: the world’s largest dinosaurs were extraordinary creatures. The challenge is to discover what made them tick.
Size is much more than just a matter of appearances. It affects nearly everything an animal does. Big animals eat more than small animals; small animals breathe faster than big animals. Big animals generally live much longer than small ones.
The centerpiece of our exhibition is Mamenchisaurus hochuanensis (Mah-MEN-chi-SAWR-us ho-CHOO-an EN-sis). As you explore the website you'll encounter her both as she looked in life and as she would have looked had scientists been able to peer inside her body.
No one has ever seen inside a sauropod. After all, flesh doesn't fossilize. But today's experts are making science-based reconstructions of the biological systems that allowed members of this group to become the largest animals that ever walked.
For 140 million years, sauropods roamed Earth--but today we have just fossils to tell us about what these animals looked like from the outside. How big were they? How big were their young? What did their skin look like? How fast could they move? And while fossils can't answer every question--like what color the animals were--they do reveal an astonishing amount of information that helps paleontologists understand these massive creatures.
To figure out how sauropods moved, breathed or ate, paleontologists need fossils. For example, we know a great deal about Mamenchisaurus because of fossils uncovered in China. Fossil expeditions around the world have uncovered the remains of hundreds of sauropod species. Large numbers of sauropod fossils have been found in Wyoming, in the western U.S., at a site called Howe Quarry.
Have paleontologists already found the world's largest dinosaur? Look at it this way. Sauropods reigned for 140 million years, and scientists have only been digging for about 150 years. Is it likely they've already unearthed the very biggest? Here's one reason scientists think the biggest dinosaur may still be out there.
The exciting exhibition features cutting-edge research on super-sized sauropods--including the giant Mamenchisaurus, one of the largest animals to ever walk the Earth--and offers new insights into how their colossal bodies functioned. Visitors will have a chance to examine life-sized bones, muscles, internal organs, and more to discover the amazing anatomy of The World's Largest Dinosaurs.
For 140 million years giant dinosaurs called sauropods roamed Earth. Help students investigate the success of the largest land animals ever with this practical and printable exhibition guide for educators.
The World's Largest Dinosaurs is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in collaboration with Coolture Marketing, Bogotá, Colombia.
The World's Largest Dinosaurs is proudly supported by Bank of America.
Additional support is generously provided by Marshall P. and Rachael C. Levine, and Drs. Harlan B. and Natasha Levine.