“Big” discoveries in Paleontology bring out inner 8-year-old

Patrick Kernan, Opinion Editor

When I was young, I was absolutely fascinated by dinosaurs, and this month, two major discoveries were announced in the world of Paleontology that brought that rushing back.
According to CNN, scientists unveiled the discovery of Dreadnoughtus schrani on Sept. 4. The 77-million-year-old creature was 85 feet long and weighed roughly 65 tons, likely making it one of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth.
To put this into perspective, Kenneth Lacovara, the lead author of the report announcing the discovery of Dreadnoughtus, said, “It weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. Rexs.”
Appropriately for its size, Dreadnoughtus’ Latin name means “fear nothing.”
In addition to the massive Dreadnoughtus, scientists also unveiled new information this month about the largest known predator in history.
According to the Wall Street Journal, scientists announced that the previously known Spinosaurus was likely at least a semi aquatic animal.
This discovery was made due to the fact that the creature’s skeletal structure would make it difficult for it to survive exclusively on land. This is contrary to the previously held belief that dinosaurs only lived on land.
I think that these two discoveries–not to mention Paleontology as a whole–are important because they are truly humbling.
They remind us that the Earth does not exist to serve humanity, but rather that it existed long before humanity got here.
It also reminds us that the amount of things that we do not know about our world is far greater than the amount of things that we do know, and hopefully this will inspire us to keep researching.
And if that doesn’t do it? In the words of the 8-year-old version of myself, “big lizards are cool,” and maybe that will be enough to make us keep digging.