A gigantic dinosaur that has just been found at the Barahiya Oasis in Egypt. About 20% or 25% complete, the most impressive single piece of bone is the humerus, at 1.7 m long1. They estimated the whole beast could have been as much as 30 m long and four African elephants high, that's also something in metres but in this case elephants make a good measure, plus the fact that it could look at you through a third-floor window, which put the willies up me when I glanced out of the office window just now, I can tell you.

It is named Paralititan, the tidal titan, because the oasis would have then been a tidal mangrove swamp or something like the Everglades; and stromeri after Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach, the German palaeontologist who explored the area between the wars. Reichenbach's museum collection was destroyed in an air raid on Munich in 1944. He had begun working there in 1911 but the exact location of the fossil site was subsequently lost.

Only the Argentinosaurus is known to have been larger (by about 7%). The Paralititan would have resembled the familiar Apatosaurus. Its mass is estimated at 70 to 75 t.

It was found two years ago by Joshua Smith from the University of Pennsylvania, and is reported in this week's Science.

1. One report makes it longer, but this appears to be an error made by reading 67 in as 6 ft 7 in. I haven't seen the Science article itself, but most reports of it show the lesser figure.

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