It may be that the words ‘Patagotitan mayorum’ don’t trip lightly off the tongue, but after a trip to the Natural History Museum, that’s all about to change. That’s because the Patagotitan is a massive new dinosaur that has taken up residence in the salubrious surroundings of the South Kensington gallery for the first time ever in Europe, and it’s a BIG deal.
Why? Well firstly because the Titanosaurus isn’t just a bit sizeable; it makes former heavy Dippy the Diplodocus look like a bantamweight, tipping the scales four times over at an immense 57,000 kg (still within a healthy BMI for this dinosaur). Plus, the megasaurus positively dwarfs ‘Hope’, the museum’s much-loved 25.2-metre blue-whale skeleton. Its thigh bone alone is 2.38 metres long and the skeleton overall measures more than 37 metres. That’s longer than three double-deckers back to back, Londoners.
So before the monstrous lizard popped up in South Ken, when and where was it hanging out? Approximately 101 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous period in Argentina, apparently. The dinosaur wasn’t a huge fan of the Argentinian steak scene, favouring a herbivorous diet of leaves and fibrous vegetation instead. The Patagotitan is a titanosaur, a type of sauropod, and although they are not always large, this colossal beauty certainly is. It’s so-called because it was discovered in 2010 at La Flecha Ranch in Patagonia, Argentina, after extensive flooding in the area, when a ranch worker spotted part of the skeleton poking out of the ground. Local dogs still mistily reminisce about Big Bone Day.
You’ll find this megasaurus in the Waterhouse Gallery at the museum until January 2024, and if you have dino-fans in the family, there’s a whole host of associated holiday activities that include sauropod poo-sniffing, in case the Easter break plans have got a little prosaic.
Waterhouse Gallery, Natural History Museum. Until Jan 7 2024. Adult tickets from £16.
Stand to attention! There’s a new royal display for the Coronation at Madame Tussauds
All aboard the immersive Orient Express (you don’t even need to leave London).