Pronunciation: ahr-jen-TEEN-o-SOR-us Meaning: Argentine lizard Author/s: Bonaparte and Coria (1993) Synonyms: None known First Discovery: Neuquén, Argentina Chart Position: 302
When the subject of the hugest sauropod pops up, those who love to speculate about such things will inevitably mention Amphicoelias fragillimus—a colossal partial vertebra and perhaps a lump of thighbone, neither of which have been seen since 1878, then Bruhathkayosaurus matleyi—a partial hip, three leg bones and a broken vertebra which were poorly illustrated by Yadagiri and Ayyasami in 1989 then mysteriously disappeared during a monsoon downpour after rumours began to circulate that its remains were merely fossilized tree stumps. Third in line is often Argentinosaurus which was so big that it was named after an entire country. Truth be told, though, its remains aren't that great either. But at least we know where they are.
EtymologyArgentinosaurus is derived from "Argentina" (the country in which it was discovered) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard). Argentina itself is derived from the Latin "argentum" (silver), a name coined by the first Spanish Conquistadors who arrived following rumours of "Silver Mountains" (Spanish: Sierra de la Plata) and began to "educate" the natives... just like they "educated" the Incas and the Aztecs! Anyway, Argentinosaurus couldn't be the "silver lizard" because that honor had already been bestowed upon the titanosaur Argyrosaurus, which was no slouch in the bulk department itself, actually, by Richard Lydekker way back in 1893. The species epithet, huinculensis, refers to Plaza Huincul, the town where the holotype was found. The Latin suffix "ensis" means "from".
DiscoveryThe first fossils of Argentinosaurus were discovered in the Huincul formation (formerly the Huincul member) of the Rio Limay subgroup (formerly the Rio Limay formation), Neuquén Province, Argentina.
The Holotype (PVPH-1) consists of vertebrae and ribs, and a weathered right shin bone. An incomplete femur (MLP-DP 46-VIII-21-3), measuring 1.18 meters, was later assigned.