Dreadnoughtus shrani is possibly the largest Titanosaur ever discovered. Titanosaurs are large sauropods, which themselves are large dinosaurs. It would have been quadrupedal with four thick legs, with a relatively small head, long neck, large body, and long tail.
Kenneth Lacovera and Chris Coughenour first discovered the femur (which is 2 metres long) while on an expedition in 2005. From 2005 until 2009, they would return each year with more students from Drexel University and the University of Patagonia until they uncovered both specimens.
The holotype consists of 155 bones: a tooth, multiple vertebrae, shoulder bones, the left-front leg, multiple ribs, the pelvis, and parts of the rear legs. This makes Dreadnoughtus the most complete Titanosaur discovered. At the same fossil site, a second smaller specimen was also discovered. The paratype consists of only 30 bones: multiple vertebrae, multiple ribs, pelvis, and the left femur.
As with other Titanosaurs, Dreadnoughtus was an herbivore, further evidenced by the peg-like tooth discovered with the original specimen.
Estimating the true size of Dreadnoughtus is challenging, as other Titanosaurs that it can be compared against are not complete enough to have a solid understanding of how heavy they could have been. What is known, though, is that at the time of its death, this dinosaur was still growing.
The completeness of the holotype is thought to be caused by a sudden flood that quickly buried the dinosaur in mud or silt.
The name Dreadnoughtus shrani comes from the size of the creature. Dreadnought, being an Old English word for 'fears nothing', was given to this dinosaur because of its size. Schrani comes from the name of Adam Schran, an American entrepreneur who supported the research of this specimen.