Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur

Synopsis: David Attenborough follows the remarkable story of the discovery of fossils in the Patagonia region of Argentina which prove to belong to the largest animal to ever walk the Earth.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Charlotte Scott
Production: BBC Earth Productions
  1 win & 2 nominations.
60 min

I'm here in Patagonia in the southern

part of South America because,

a few years ago,

a man looking for one of his lost sheep found

a simply gigantic bone

sticking out of a rock -

a bone that was going to astonish science.

That first bone led to the

discovery of over 200 others.

They were all huge - so big that they

could only have come from a dinosaur.

And what a dinosaur it would turn out to be!

One that seems to defy the laws of nature.

These bones are part of a

skeleton that has remained hidden

and marvellously preserved

for 100 million years.

'An international team of

scientists assembled to try

'and work out what sort of

dinosaur it belonged to.'

It's like a palaeontological crime scene!

Each bone is an important piece

of evidence that can give us

information as to what the living

creature was actually like.

We'll use the latest forensic technology,

we'll compare it with how

giant animals live today

and we'll build a full-size skeleton

of this stupendous creature.

And we will try and work out

in detail what it looked like

when it was alive.


Absolutely amazing!

Could it really have been the biggest animal

ever to walk the earth?

Patagonia in southern Argentina.

Like many detective stories,

this one began by chance.

A shepherd stumbled across

the tip of a huge bone

poking out of the ground.


Experts from Patagonia's

premier palaeontological museum

confirmed it was part of a dinosaur.


But they didn't realise at the

time what a truly extraordinary one

it would prove to be.

Dinosaurs of many kinds

roamed all over these lands

in the southern end of South America

during what's known as the Cretaceous period,

between 66 and 145 million years ago.

The largest were plant-eaters

known as sauropods.

And the largest of them were the titanosaurs.

Giant titanosaur bones are comparatively rare

so very little is known

about these dinosaurs.

This new discovery could change all that.

'Like many people, young and old,

I'm fascinated by dinosaurs,

'so the chance to join this investigation

'is just too good an opportunity to miss.'

Oh, I'd love to have a go!


I'm sure they'd let you.


'Of course,

it's the giants in particular that capture

'the imagination.'

The first sauropods to appear on earth

were comparatively small creatures.

This is the cast of the

thigh bone of one of them.

It's not even as big as my thigh bone.

But after about 20 million years,

some had become pretty big.

This is a thigh bone from

one of those creatures.

But then, after that...

..our giant appeared. This is its thigh bone.

It's the largest ever found.

Coming across such a bone in your

back yard must be quite a shock.

Just ask farm owner Alba Maio.





Before long,

a whole team of fossil-hunting scientists

arrives and starts work.

The thighbone proves to be eight feet,

2.4 metres long.

It's preserved in extraordinary detail,

and detail will be

critical to the forensic

examination that will follow.

The research team soon turn

the site into a vast quarry.

It proves to be one of the biggest

dinosaur finds of the century.

Bone after bone emerge from the rocks.


We just found another bone right here.

We weren't expecting it at all.

We just start digging and find it.

Until recently, giant titanosaurs

have only been known from a dozen bones

and our team have already found

more than ten times as many.

Dr Diego Pol is the chief palaeontologist

leading the investigation.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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