The Field museum welcomed the addition of the cast of the largest dinosaur ever discovered, Máximo. Hailing from Patagonia, the titanasaur’s Spanish name means “maximum” or “most” referencing its 122 feet length from head to tail. The construction took just over a week, as the cast arrived last Monday along with crew from Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio (MEF) who have been assembling pieces from two shipping containers. The titanasaur’s skeletal cast is based off the bones of six individual Patagotitan mayorum. The Field museum’s Director of Exhibitions, Jaap Hoogstraten described the enormity of Máximo, “As you can see, the head is on the second floor, it’s staggering to all of us, including museum staff, we’ve seen this construction. It’s especially cool because it’s standing next to the largest living land animal now, the elephants.” Guests witnessed a historical moment viewing the installation of Máximo’s skull on Friday morning at the Field, the friendly looking smile towering over the second floor balcony of Stanley Hall primed for taking pictures.
Stanley hall is a giant space, its length measuring at 300 feet, 70 feet wide and half an acre of floor area. Maximo will be surrounded by the only hanging gardens in the world with plants like ferns, cycads, and arum all stemming from the Cretaceous period. The hydroponic plants are completely self-contained, as the nutrients they need are delivered from a system in the ceiling. The humidity from the greenery will help hydrate the skins of the elephants standing next to Maximo as well as assisting with the reverb in Stanley hall. The Field will be getting a whole flock of flying pterosaurs to accompany Máximo, including a new Quetzalcoatlus, the biggest animal to ever fly with a wingspan of 32 feet.
Máximo stands large against the sunny reflection provided by the museum’s cathedral ceilings. The looming frame starkly contrasts adjacent to two elephants on display. Dr. Eric Gorscak, researcher at the Field Museum, reported Máximo’s weight as “about 70 tons, definitely putting it in the upper range of these large dinosaurs”. He elaborated on the pinkish pigmentation of Máximo, “The red coloration picks up from a lot of the iron and oxygen in rocks and sediments, similar to rust with the reddish color, all of the minerals get seeped into the bones over time and gives it that coloring that’s why it’s red.” The titanasaur’s cast took 6 months to make as the team in Argentina worked diligently to replicate the fossils found. Dr. Gorscak explained, “The whole mount is a cast, we do have some of the real fossils on bone including the arm, femur and shoulder and those will be on display for the next two years just downstairs near the skeleton.” Viewing the pinkish red bones against the museum’s white hall brings a certain sparkle to the space. The size of two accordian CTA buses, Chicago’s newest feature is not a sight to miss. Máximo’s friendly smile peering over the second floor captures hearts and selfies alike. Head to the Field museum to walk under the massive titanasaur’s legs and get your hands on the eight foot long femur fossil this summer.
Photos: Courtesy of Field Museum and Yvonne Pulido
More information about Maximo go to the Field Museum Website