The Biggest Dinosaur To Ever Walk The Earth

Dinosaurs have been capturing the human imagination for centuries with their remarkable size, variety, and unceasing perseverance when determining whether or not someone is the mama. As with so many things, true greatness lies on the periphery: we're fascinated by the fastest, or the most terrible, or the ones that are the worst at catching pre-teens in an amusement park cafeteria kitchen. 

And as for the largest? Well, it's a funny story.

Argentinosaurus: the world's biggest dinosaur (maybe?)

First thing's first: paleontology is a strange business where, more often than not, you're going to have to do some guess work. Tens of millions of years tend to take a lot out of anyone, especially if they're a pile of desiccated animal remains, so it's rare to discover a specimen that's been preserved nose to toes. Most of the time, to quote the old scientific axiom, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

Which brings us to the 1980s and a farm in Argentina, where a rancher discovered what he thought was a chunk of petrified wood. In reality, it was the enormous femur of Argentinosaurus, a new brand of sauropod that would go on to be considered the largest land animal ever to grace Earth with its presence. 

Or is it? Lots of things to consider here: firstly, the creature's size is almost entirely speculative, since so few of its bones were actually found. Scientists made a lot of informed guesses as to how to fill out the rest of Argentinosaurus' frame, and a complete skeleton has yet to be found. 

Then, in 2014, paleontologists found a hotbed of remains, also in South America, including a potentially related species that was possibly even larger. "Possibly" is the key word there, as a National Geographic article pointed out the problems with assigning those sorts of labels to beasts removed from the human experience by a hundred million years. The fact of the matter is, until humans perfect dinosaur cloning theme park technology, we're going to be stuck with more questions than answers.