Trelew, Argentina, Jun 19 (EFE).- The paleontology museum in this Argentine Patagonian town houses one of the world’s most important fossil collections and now is planning a major expansion following the 2011 discovery of the skeleton of a titanosaur, the biggest animal to ever walk the Earth.
Founded in 1990, the Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum began operating with only three employees and just a handful of pieces in its collection, but since the titanosaur find it has gained international recognition and now plans to expand its staff to 65 scientists by 2020, communications and marketing director Florencia Gigena told reporters.
Some of the changes Gigena announced include enlarging the building’s exhibition space and building a university campus that will accommodate around 20 students. A giant hall also will be built to house the titanosaur after it returns from being exhibited at different museums around the world.
The museum’s history was dramatically altered in 2011, when a local rancher came across a large bone that turned out to be part of the dinosaur’s pelvis, the first of a series of discoveries that would eventually unearth the animal’s complete skeleton.
Experts say this giant herbivore was 40 meters (130 feet) long; weighed 70 tons, or as much as 10 African elephants; and lived in present-day South America between 95 million and 101.6 million years ago.
Although it is the largest, the titanosaur is not the only treasure housed at the museum.
In the room adjacent to the exhibition halls, visitors will find the oldest known turtle fossil and fossils of insects that lived some 50 million years ago. EFEFUTURO