There are many reasons why we are fascinated by dinosaurs – but one of them has to be their massive size. These days, it’s hard to imagine how some of the biggest dinosaurs used to wander the very same earth that we live on today. But how big were the dinosaurs? Well, dinosaurs varied massively in size. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest (and smallest) dinosaurs that ever existed.
How big were the dinosaurs?
We now know about roughly 1000 different species of dinosaurs. The smallest dinosaurs were roughly the size of a chicken and the largest dinosaurs were over 100 feet long.
According to Answers Research Journal, who accounted for all the big and small dinosaurs humans have discovered so far, the average weight of a dinosaur is 4282kg – roughly the same as that of a small African Elephant. Of course, many dinosaurs were far heavier than this and some dinosaurs were incredibly long.
How big was the biggest dinosaur of all time?
Huge! No, really. Whichever way you look at it, the biggest dinosaurs of all time were absolutely massive by today’s standards of animal size.
Argentinosaurus is generally accepted as the biggest dinosaur of all time. In fact, it is also known to be the biggest land animal that has ever lived. Argentinosaurus weighed around 77 tonnes, which is 17 times heavier than an African elephant!
Many scientists agree that the size of an animal should be determined predominantly by weight, which would make Argentinosaurus the absolute largest animal to have ever walked the earth. However, some people argue that there are other ways to measure dinosaur size, so we’ll also tell you about the longest and tallest dinosaur of all time.
Supersaurus is the longest dinosaur of all time measuring over 130 feet in length! That’s almost 40 metres long and 10 metres longer than the Brachiosaurus, which is the sauropod we saw in the original Jurassic Park movie. Supersaurus means “super lizard” and we’re not surprised one bit!
Sauroposeidon is the tallest dinosaur to have ever lived. Sauroposeidon, which lived in the Gulf of Mexico, could grow up to 69 ft tall, which is more than twice the height of an average UK house. We’d absolutely love to see one, wouldn’t you?
What type of dinosaur was the biggest?
The biggest type of dinosaurs were Sauropods. The Argentinosaurus, Supersaurus and Sauroposeidon were all types of Sauropod dinosaurs.
Sauropods are known for their large size, long necks, long tails and their 4 supporting pillar-like legs. The biggest land animals to have ever existed were sauropods. In fact, even the smallest sauropods, the Ohmdenosaurus, grew to be around 4 metres long.
Popular sauropods that you may have heard of include the Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus.
What was the biggest carnivorous dinosaur?
The biggest land carnivore of all time is the Spinosaurus, which was 60 feet in length and weighed around 10 tons. Some scientists believe that a fully grown Spinosaurus may have weighed as much as 20 tons!
This makes it significantly bigger than T-Rex, which was thought to be the biggest land predator of all time for 90 years after its discovery in North America in 1905.
The incredible Spinosaurus could swim, had a huge sail on its back, could sprint on 2 legs and had a relatively big brain for its size. If you’d like to learn more about this amazing dinosaur, check out our ROAR-some Spinosaurus facts!
What was the biggest herbivore?
The biggest herbivore discovered so far is the impressive Argentinosaurus, which belongs to the giant Sauropod dinosaur family. In fact, the top 10 biggest dinosaurs of all time (and more) are all Sauropods, whether you measure dinosaur size by weight, length or height.
The largest herbivorous dinosaur that doesn’t belong to the Sauropod dinosaur family is the Shantungosaurus which is a plant-eating ornithopod from the Late Cretaceous period, discovered in China.
What was the biggest flying dinosaur?
The largest ever pterosaur was the Quetzalcoatlus Northropi, which had a wingspan of 36 feet (11 metres) and lived around 67 million years ago.
Pterosaur is the name for the flying reptiles that lived alongside the dinosaurs, existing for most of the Mesozoic. The best known pterosaurs are Pterodactyl and Pteranodon.
What was the biggest swimming dinosaur?
Mosasaurus was the biggest marine reptile to exist alongside the dinosaurs, dominating the oceans during the Cretaceous Period (145.5 – 67 million years ago). Mosasaurus wasn’t actually a swimming dinosaur at all but belonged to an entirely different group of reptiles, which are more closely related to snakes and lizards.
Mosasaurus measured around 49-59 feet in length, which is pretty big and comparable to the lengths of the Megalodon (a giant shark, which lived from 15.9 to 2.6 million years ago). Neither of these legendary animals come anywhere close to the lengths of the blue whale however, which measures a huge 110 feet in length and is still around today.
When were the biggest dinosaurs alive?
The subgroup of giant Sauropod, known as the titanosaurs, which includes the Argentinosaurus, were alive during the Earth’s Cretaceous Period (145.5 – 67 million years ago) and died at the end along with the other dinosaurs during the extinction event 66 million years ago.
What type of dinosaur was the smallest?
While the biggest dinosaurs were undoubtedly impressive, we couldn’t talk about dinosaur sizes without also acknowledging their smaller counterparts, who are just as important!
The smallest dinosaur fossil ever found was declared in 2020 to be the Oculudentavis Khaungraae, a tiny avian dinosaur comparable with a hummingbird that lived in Prehistoric Myanmar around 100 million years ago. However, as with all new discoveries there has been uncertainty and controversy around whether or not this fossil is actually the remains of a dinosaur or whether it could be the remains of a prehistoric lizard.
So, while there is some uncertainty about what the smallest dinosaur ever discovered is, let’s discuss some honourable mentions.
Pendraig Milnerae is the oldest carnivore to have been discovered in the UK. It’s a small chicken-sized theropod related to T-Rex that lived in Triassic Wales over 200 million years ago.
Compsognathus was thought to have been the smallest non-avian dinosaur to have ever existed when it was discovered in Germany in the 1850s, measuring at around 70-75 cm in length (28-30 inches). Compsognathus is a small bipedal carnivorous theropod also related to T-Rex, like the Pendraig Milnerae!
Nemicolopterus is the smallest pterosaur to have ever been discovered. Weighing in at just a few ounces, the remains of this tiny creature were discovered by palaeontologists in China in February 2008.
What type of dinosaur are you?
Are you impressively larger than life or are you terrifically tiny? If you enjoyed this article and love dinosaurs as much as we do, you can test your knowledge with our amazing quiz: what kind of dinosaur are you?
We’d love for you to join us and celebrate your favourite dinosaur here with us at Paultons Park by spending a day visiting the Lost Kingdom. Lost Kingdom is a Jurassic themed prehistoric land full of dinosaur themed rides and attractions.
You’ll have the opportunity to ride the incredible Velociraptor rollercoaster, to swoop through the air on Flight of the Pterosaur or to dash through the park on the family friendly Dino Chase coaster. If you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to meet our “living” dinosaurs during ALIVE! Dinosaur encounter.
Book your tickets online to avoid disappointment on the day. We can’t wait to see you!