A volunteer at a Colorado fossil dig has just found an absolutely massive Apatosaurus femur: 6' 7", which puts the 5' 10" femur of the previous record holder to shame, making this one of the two largest Apatosaurus ever discovered.
Volunteer Kay Fredette was participating in the Dinosaur Digs program in Fruitia, Colorado, where people get to join a local museum at a dinosaur dig for the day. (Shameless cross-link: just one of many opportunities across the country to do so!) While clearing rock away from other bones . . . well, you can hear it in her own words:
"Dorothy and I were working on some bones . . . and came across this lump. And thought, 'oh, my goodness, we found another vertebra.' Well, then we got to the back side of it, and it swooped back up again . . .."
Obviously this hasn't yet been published or peer-reviewed, or really scrutinized in any way. They just dug it out of the ground, and it could easily shrink (or grow) a little when measured with some precision. But a 12% jump in size is perfectly plausible, for two reasons:
- Even the biggest-known Apatosaurus was not yet fully grown when it died. So it is widely believed that even larger Apatosaurus are probably out there, just waiting to be found.
- Kay's new femur is 12% longer than the femur of CM 3018 (which was previously the longest-known Apatosaurus femur). There is an incomplete Oklahoma Apatosaurus specimen (no intact femur), and each of its bones outsize the bones of CM 3018 by 11-30%. Kay's 12% longer femur fits comfortably in that range, putting it easily in the realm of Apatosaurus-size-possibility.
Even though this probably won't beat the Oklahoma Apatosaurus for sheer size, it's still a huge find (in more ways than one). Basically I am super envious of Kay Fredette, and in some small way wish that I was Kay Fredette. I suspect that "Dorothy" is with me on this.
Image is from the un-embeddable KREX news footage.
Footnote: Firefox, you've disappointed me: