Part of Orientation Center.
D. Finnin/© AMNH
At the time, the species was so new, that it had not yet been formally named by the paleontologists who discovered it.
[Title card reads: American Museum of Natural History]
[Shots of welders with masks on working on the toes, tail, and head of the skeletal cast, sparks flying. Shot pans from a red cherry-picker stand marked "Exhibition Department" to The Titanosaur's head, which peeks out of the Wallach Orientation Center with a toothy grin.]
Mark Norell: A new dinosaur is coming to the halls of the American Museum of Natural History.
[Mark Norell on screen. The lower third reads: Mark Norell, Macaulay Curator, Division of Paleontology]
This Titanosaur is a really huge animal.
[Shot begins under The Titanosaur's head and runs alongside its 122-foot-long skeletal cast in the darkened hall on hyperlapse. The stand for The Titanosaur is still under construction in this shot, and there are no exhibit panels around the cast.]
It's over 120 feet long.
[Wide shot of a dry, scrubland-type landscape with one tree and low-lying vegetation. Aerial shot of a person crouched over a large fossil femur, one arm stretched out along the bone and seemingly brushing it. The person's wingspan is not large enough to reach the other end of the fossil.]
It lived in what's now present-day Argentina about 100 million years ago.
[Slight zoom into a still of several figures on a hill against the blue sky. Figures are shadowed but appear to be wearing field clothes. Zoom into a still of a person working alongside the giant fossil femur, picking up other fossils from the ground. Other items scattered within view may be fossils.]
The last 20 years have really been the
[Person in a brimmed hat walks, holding a camera that captures the yellow-red dusty ground and shows the person's shadow. A point-of-view shot showing a paleontologist using a tool to draw a line yellow-red dirt around what may be a fossil in the field.]
new Golden Age of dinosaur discovery.
[Mark Norell appears on camera.]
New kinds of animals have been found all over the world—in Africa, in Asia, in Patagonia—
[A still of a person in the field lying down next to the fossil femur near site of excavation for scale reference, with the femur stretching beyond the person on both sides.]
—and this is just one of the latest ones.
[Mark Norell appears on camera.]
A couple years ago, one of my ex-graduate students Diego Pol sent me an email saying that a farmer
[Shot of a rider on horseback against the hilly backdrop of Patagonia, a dog trailing the horse.]
near Trelew in Patagonia
[Aerial shot of two paleontologists near the outsized femur, one pulling out a yellow measuring tape and the other walking to stretch it across.]
had found an amazing dinosaur,
one of the largest land animals ever to live.
[Close-up of the tip of a metallic tool, not unlike the tip of a screwdriver, being used to pick at the reddish dirt around the fossil femur.]
Over the next couple of years, they extracted this specimen from the rocks at the ranch.
[Zoom into a still of two figures at the dig site, standing next to large jacketed specimens wrapped in white material. One is bent over a laptop on a stand and the other holds a hand-held scanner. Zoom into another shot from the same series, with one of the people now actively pointing scanner at the jacketed fossil while the other stands in the background. Laptop is also visible. Footage of another person in a blue t-shirt, this time in an interior space that resembles a workshop or warehouse, using a hand-held scanner to scan the fossil femur, now resting on a wooden platform.]
Peter May: We went down to Argentina and we 3D-scanned all the bones in the field and in the lab.
[Shot of the laptop screen nearby shows the 3D scan appearing.]
We had the whole skeleton completely digitized in 4 weeks.
[Another worker in a warehouse space, holding what looks like a large drill-bit hanging from above with one hand, punches in some buttons on an instrument panel.]
We took the data and then we carved
[Wide-shot of same worker standing next to a large machine cutting a shape out of a material that looks like styrofoam.]
the bones out of slabs of foam with our 5-axis milling machine.
[Peter May appears on screen. Lower third reads: Peter May, President, Research Casting International.]
We molded all the elements once they're carved up, and then we have a complete copy of the skeleton and
[Stills showing large yellow moulds on the floor of a warehouse.]
from there we can
[Stills showing gloved hands brushing a clear substance into the moulds.]
cast all the elements out of fiberglass.
[Worker stands in a warehouse underneath the cast of The Titanosaur, holding one of the rib bones.]
Then the cast gets mounted.
[A view from the other side of The Titanosaur. A worker stands on a ladder near the cast's back leg, another can be seen inside the rib cage.]
Back at the Museum, another pair of workers wheel in what looks like the cast of the tail, which has been painted a dusty red to match the dirt in the excavation site and the fossil femur.
Shot of The Titanosaur's back being lifted up into place near the back legs, all parts now also colored a dusty red, being put together in the Wallach Orientation Center.]
Shot of The Titanosaur's tail being lifted into place.]
A close-up on a worker in a hard hat and gloves touching up The Titanosaur's toes with a small paintbrush.]
An even tighter shot shows the paintbrush filling in a dark line in the fossil cast. Another shot of the backbone being lifted up.]
[Mark Norell appears on screen.]
Mark Norell: When you're trying to determine the mass or the weight of an animal this big, it's pretty tough.
[A shot of a small dog, held by someone who is petting it.]
A good example of that is if you pick up a puppy, it's pretty heavy compared to picking up
[A shot of a small chicken being held in someone's hands.]
a bird—a chicken—that's about the same size.
[Mark Norell appears on screen.]
That's because their bones are constructed very differently.
[Close-up of hands with a sharp metal tool, picking at what looks like a reddish fossil matrix.]
The bones of this Titanosaur, were not hollow—they were what we call cancellous,
[Another close-up of hands with a metal tool, picking at a fossil, this time seen through a magnifying lens that's inserted between camera and hands.]
so they have lots of little tiny air pockets all through them like a piece of styrofoam.
[Pan up the full height of The Titanosaur cast at the shoulder.]
So the bones themselves would be very, very, very light.
That's the only way an animal like this could get so big.
[Workers in hard hats lift The Titanosaur skull onto its neck. Music starts up.
We chose to display this animal now
[Close-up on The Titanosaur's teeth, then switch in focus to bring the back and tail into focus.]
because it represents one of the newest big dinosaurs thats been found anywhere in the world.
[Mark Norell on screen.]
We have some tremendous things here.
[View of blue whale in the Museum's Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. View of Tyrannosaurus rex fossil skeleton in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.]
We have the blue whale, we have the Tyrannosaurus rex, we have the Barosaurus,
[View of the Museum's Roosevelt Rotunda, with the cast of the Barosaurus rearing up on its back legs.]
Close-up on The Titanosaur's teeth.]
and now we're going to have The Titanosaur.
[Music plays out. Pan under The Titanosaur's ribs and neck. View of its tail, pan from tail back to neck, slowing down at the neck and looking up from underneath the skull towards the lights.]
The scientific name, Patagotitan mayorum, was announced in August 2017. The moniker was inspired by the region where this new species was discovered, Argentina’s Patagonia (Patago); by its strength and large size (titan), and by the Mayo family on whose ranch the fossils of this new sauropod species were excavated (mayorum).
Paleontologists suggest that Patagotitan mayorum, a giant herbivore that belongs to a group known as titanosaurs, weighed in at around 70 tons. The species lived in the forests of today’s Patagonia about 100 to 95 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, and is one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered.
The remains were excavated in the Patagonian desert region of Argentina by a team from the Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio led by José Luis Carballido and Diego Pol, who received his Ph.D. degree in a joint program between Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History.
The Titanosaur cast grazes the gallery’s approximately 19-foot-high ceilings, and, at 122 feet, is just a bit too long for its home. Instead, its neck and head extend out towards the elevator banks, welcoming visitors to the “dinosaur” floor.
Generous support for The Titanosaur exhibit has been provided by the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Foundation.