Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#SciFri: Titanosaur – Life as the Biggest Dinosaur

As you may have seen on social media recently, I visited the Titanosaur exhibit at the Natural History Museum, London with a few other likeminded individuals, thanks to the brilliant organising skills of James Pascoe (cheers mate!). For those of you that have been living under a rock (who could blame you in recent times?), Patagotitan mayorum is the largest dinosaur ever discovered, weighing approximately 70 metric tons and measuring 37.2 meters (122 feet) long when alive, although some researchers believe that these are overestimates. The Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur exhibition is an awe-inspiring exploration of Earth’s ancient past, exploring the natural history and reign of these colossal creatures. The exhibit perfectly blends palaeontology, interactive displays, and accessible information to allow all visitors to understand more about P. mayorum than ever before.

One of the interactive display boards where your goal was to try to help as many hatchling titanosaurs survive as possible

Upon entering the exhibition hall, you are immediately greeted by the femur and shoulder of P. mayorum. If you’ve ever seen Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur, then you’ll know exactly how big this femur is. Its sheer magnitude was breathtaking, capturing the imagination of how huge this animal really was, and evoking a sense of wonder. How did something this large evolve, and why? As I continued my journey through the exhibition, I was immersed in basic yet effective prehistoric environment. The palaeoart was quite minimal, growing more complex as you slowly reached the crescendo, the cast of P. mayorum. The interactive displays and multimedia presentations along the way, provided valuable insights into P. mayorum‘s habitat, feeding habits, and social behavior. It was also through these that I learnt that if I was a hatchling titanosaur, I’d probably end up dead pretty quickly. Whoops! There were countless other palaeontological specimens too with accompanying placards, which provided in-depth explanations and scientific theories, shedding light on the process of palaeontological research and discoveries. I hope these were not wasted on the general public.

I’m not often left to feel small but this certainly did the trick!

The exhibition also took a closer look at the ecosystem of P. mayorum, highlighting the diverse flora and fauna that coexisted alongside these magnificent giants. Then, you turn a corner, and all of a sudden you feel smaller than you’ve done in your entire life. Think of that embarrassing moment from secondary school, the one that keeps you up at night, and times by a thousand. As someone that is almost 2 metres tall, I’m rarely made to feel small, but if I ever same across P. mayorum in real life, I would have made sure to not get in its way. With a stride of 3 metres, it could move forward more in one step than I am tall – absolutely terrifying! It was hard not to just stand there and imagine what it would have been like to be back in a world where animals like this still roamed, they certainly dwarf the biggest megafauna we have around today.

Those of you within the palaeontological scene may recognise a few faces among the few of us that made the pilgrimage to London to experience this fantastic beast for ourselves

In conclusion, the Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur exhibition surpassed all expectations, delivering an enthralling and educational experience. From the majestic life-sized model to the extensive collection of fossils and interactive displays, every element of this exhibition was thoughtfully designed to engage and inspire visitors. Whether you’re a dinosaur enthusiast or simply curious about Earth’s ancient history, this exhibition is a must-visit (while it lasts). Prepare to be mesmerised by the sheer magnificence of P. mayorum, and embark on a captivating journey through time.

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