If you have ever been to the Natural History Museums in London or in New York you will have seen either the model or a Blue whale or the skeleton of a blue whale displayed there. The size is incredible.
The fact that it fits inside a building more so! It is known that the Blue whale is the largest living animal on earth now, but were there any Dinosaurs bigger than a blue whale? We take a look at some contenders below.
The blue whale continues to be the largest known animal ever to exist on earth. The closest land based dinosaur to it in terms of weight was the Argentinosaurus, However at an estimated maximum weight of 200,000 lbs. it was still 140,000 lbs lighter than an average blue whale. It could be 20 feet longer however.
As of yet there has been nothing discovered in the fossil record that comes close to the size of a blue whale. However there have been some massive animals discovered, and we take a look at 5 of the largest land dinosaurs, and 5 of the largest Water dinosaurs (Marine reptiles, Fish and more in our sister article) and compare them. We have a table to make the comparison easier as well.
Just How Big is a Blue Whale?
Before we get into examining if any dinosaurs were bigger than a blue whale we will take a moment to look at just how big a blue whale actually is. It can be hard to understand with just numbers, especially when numbers get so large when discussing animals of this size. So we will have a few examples below the table of blue whales statistics.
|Animal||Average Length (feet)||Average Weight (Lbs)||Maximum length (feet)||Maximum Weight (lbs and tons)||Weight in Elephants|
|Blue Whale||86 Feet long||319670 lbs. (145 Tons)||111 Feet Long*||438, 000 Lbs. (199 tons)||30 Elephants|
*This length may be under question and the official length is 98ft long.
- A Blue Whale is an long as a basketball court.
- That as long as 3 london double decker buses.
- It could be as heavy as 25 African Elephants ( 30 at the heaviest size)
- That’s the same as 15 Tyrannosaurus Rex!
- it had the biggest heat of any animal – bigger than four people.
- A whole soccer team could stand on its tongue ( we wouldn’t though!)
- At its average weight The blue whale is the same as the weight of over 2100 people!!
Fast Fact: Scientists actually measure the age of Blue Whales by their Ear Wax! the whale produces it at a steady rate and it allows us to tell how old Blue whales can live to. ( about 80 years)
The Blue Whale is actually a carnivore, making it the largest carnivore to have ever lived. It eats tiny animals called Krill, ( so don’t worry if you are swimming and see one,) while it scoops up in its huge mouth.
It scoops the Krill up with water and then uses it tongue to push the water through its teeth. these teeth are not like a carnivore teeth though. they are like porous( let water through) plates called baleen. Which allow the water to go back out but keep all the Krill ( like small shrimp) in for its meal.
Eating 8000 lbs of these little shrimp a day is why they can weigh up to 400,000 lbs!
So now we know how Massive the Blue whale was let’s compare it with the largest Dinosaurs both on land and in the sea. ( the sea is another article as this got quite long!) You can check out the table for quick Statistics.
Do two tables
Was any Land Dinosaur Larger than a Blue Whale?
The Earth was a world of giants 66-150 million years ago. Almost on Every continent there were giant dinosaurs present. the biggest of these were called sauropods, They were recognizable by their massive size, and their long necks and tails.
They could be 130 feet long or more and weigh up to ( and maybe over) 80 tons. the largest of these was the Argentinosaurus, but lets take a look at that and another four massive sauropods below.
|Blue Whale Vs Land dinosaurs||Length in feet||Weight in Pounds||Weight Difference to a Blue whale||Length Difference to a Blue whale.|
|Blue Whale||110 ft||438000||Same||Same|
|Argentinosaurus||100-130 ft||1-200,000 lbs||238,000 lighter at top estimates||20 ft longer at top estimates.|
|Patagotitan||121 feet||138,000 lbs||300,000 lbs lighter at top estimate||11 Feet longer at top estimates|
|*Barosaurs||164 feet||291,010 lbs||140,000 lbs Lighter at top estimate.||54 feet longer at top estimate.|
|SuperSaurus||131 Ft||88,000 lbs||350,000 Lighter at top estimates||21 feet longer at top estimates|
|*Amphicoelias||200Ft||340,000||92,000 Lighter at top estimates||90 feet longer at top estimates.|
We have to put a comment about these two dinosaurs here. Both are heavily estimates. the barosaurus estimate is from an out lying back bone that is much bigger than any other found. And the Amphicoelias is only know from half of a back bone that actually disappeared!
However most fossils of these Huge Sauropods we find are actually of juvenile dinosaurs, and not that many of those! So we really are not sure how big they could actually grow. Although at the moment not as large as a Blue Whale maybe in the future there will be a challenge to that.
Argentinosaurus Weight and Length
Argentinosaurus is a genus of giant sauropod dinosaurs that lived during the Late Cretaceous period in Argentina. It lived approximately 80 million years ago. In terms of size, this dinosaur is arguably the biggest ever land animal.
Argentinosaurus was a huge dinosaur and was estimated to up to 100 tons, though more likely to be 50-60 tons. Its length is Estimated at between 95 and 130 feet . Though it was the full skeleton has not been found the bones of Argentinosaurus that have been found are massive.
Was Argentinosaurus larger than a blue Whale?
A blue Whale is considerably larger than even the top estimates on size for the Argentinosaurus. in weight it is a huge 200,000 lbs heavier which is basically twice as heavy. However as with most of the large dinosaurs on this list Argentinosaurus was longer than a blue whale at 130 ft. Making it 20 feet longer than the longest blue whale and 30-40 feet longer than the average blue whale.
SuperSaurus: Length and weight
The SuperSaurus was a diplodocid sauropod dinosaur that inhabited North America during the Late Jurassic period. Its fossil remains were discovered by Vivian Jones in the middle Morrison Formation of Colorado in 1972.
Supersaurus was certainly a long dinosaur, it is estimated to be up to 131 feet in length. However, like the diplodocus is was much slighter ( lighter) than other huge sauropod dinosaurs be thought to be around 36 tones in weight – about 80,000 lbs. Still Huge but not as big as others in the family!
Was Supersaurus bigger than a blue whale?
Supersaurus, while longer than even the longest blue whale did not come close in terms of mass and weight. No animal has ever grown as large as a Blue whale. At the top estimation of a supersaurus weight it is still around 50,000 lbs lighter than the largest recorded weight of a Blue Whale.
Patagotitan Length and Weight.
The Patagotitan is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs. This genus originated from the Cerro Barcino Formation in Chubut Province, Patagonia.
The name of the dinosaur is derived from its scientific name, patagotitan mayorum, which means “giant of Patagonia”. The dinosaur weighed up to 69 metric tonnes, which is more than twelve adult African elephants! It was a massive dinosaur, measuring 40 meters long (131 feet)
For a few years it was thought to rival Argentinosaurus in size but in recent years has its estimates have been lowered. It was still, of course, huge!
Was Patagonian Larger than a Blue Whale?
As its size estimates have been scaled down it is clear that patagotitan despite being huge even for a sauropod was not match in terms of weight when compared to a blue whale. Although 20 feet longer its weight was over 300,000 lbs lighter next to the largest Blue whale weight recorded.
Amphicoelias: Length and Weight
The Amphicoelias dinosaur was a large herbivorous sauropod that lived around 150 million years ago. It has a weird history with fossils being measured then disappearing, incorrect measurement rumors and all in the middle of the bone wars in the early days of fossil hunting.
Its bones were lost after the first discovery, but a partial vertebra and a gigantic femur were discovered. The vertebra part was about 1.5 meters (5.6 ft) long and would have been up to 2.7 meters (8.8 ft) tall when complete.
This would have made the Amphicoelias incredibly large. It has actually been renamed to maraapunissaurus in recent years, but although there is a new name there are not as of yet any new fossils.
If Amphicoelias can be proved to have lived it would have been upto 200 ft long (60 metres) and its weight would have been close to the average for a blue whale at 340,000 lbs.
Fast Fact: The first and only Amphicoelias fossil was discovered in the 1870s and was twice the size of any other sauropod fossil found at the time. It was described in written notes and shipped off to a museum. However the fossil has never been found and the notes are the only record existing.
Was Amphicoelias bigger than a blue whale?
Amphicoelias would have been the closest in weight to a blue whale from all of the sauropods dinosaurs. At a possible 200 ft long, and 340,000 lbs in weight It actually exceeds the Blue whale in both terms of length and weight. However the existence and measurements of Amphicoelias are heavily disputed.
If the size of Amphicoelias can be verified and proved it would make it heavier, possibly, that the average weight of a blue whale and over 190 feet long. There is no sign of this happening but it would be a huge development in the understanding how large dinosaurs could actually be,
As we have mentioned previously in our Long neck dinosaur article here, The discovery of fossils is still relatively new and we are discovering new dinosaurs almost weekly. In terms of the truly massive dinosaurs like Sauropods those discovered are often younger, or juveniles and this may affect our size estimations.
It may be that there were longer and heavier dinosaurs that are just waiting for us to discover them in the future.
Barosaurus: Length and Weight.
This giant sauropod dinosaur lived in the Upper Jurassic Period of Utah and South Dakota. Normally it would not feature when compared in size to a blue whale but recent discoveries have the potential to change that.
Normally a barosaurus, while still a huge dinosaur, would be lower down the order in terms of size. It would weight about 40,000 lbs and be around 80 feet long. That was until a vertebra ( back bone) of a barosaurus was found that dwarfed all those found before.
this fossil was given the number BYU 9024 and research is still ongoing. You can read more here.
It is (heavily) estimated that this Species of Barosaurus was about 50 meters long and would have weighed more than 280,000 lbs, according to the video below, however Wikipedia has it at 77 tons or 150,000 lbs plus. Either way it was significantly larger than Argentinosaurus
A video discussing the possible size of the new Barosaurus. STILL smaller than a blue whale though!
Was Barosaurus Lentus Larger than a Blue Whale?
Barosaurus Lentus is a proposed huge sauropod. If its massive size can be verified,. Its length would have been over 160 feet, which is longer than a blue whale by 50 feet, but its weight at 290,000 pounds falls 30,000 pounds under the average weight of a blue whale.
Why is The Blue Whale larger than Any Dinosaur?
In may come as a surprise but the Blue whale did not just appear in all its 100 ft glory over night. It evolved over millions of year to reach the sizes it does today. In fact one of its early ancestors looked very different indeed.
An early ancestor of the Blue whale, and therefore all whales of course did not even live in the sea! It was called Pakicetus and it looked more like a hyena or a large dog that anything close to resembling a whale. it was about 2 metres long and had four legs!
however it is seen as one of the earliest whales, and lived about 50 million years ago after the extinction of the dinosaurs. At some stage these animals and its descendants made the move into the sea and that is some of the explanation of why they were able to evolve from a 2 metre dog like creature to a 30 metre long whale!
Whales, once they entered the water 50 million years ago had none of the restrictions that land based animals had. Gravity is less on an issue, support of weight on limbs is a non issue as water takes car of that. Once they evolved to become purely water animals then growth was much less restricted.
this same process could happen with other marine reptiles, it maybe we jsut haved found them yet.
We discuss in the next article if there were any Marine reptiles that could challenge a blue whale it terms of size, length and weight. They might just be a godzilla sized prehistoric marine reptile waiting to be discovered somewhere!
No dinosaur yet identified and recorded is close to the size of a blue whale in terms of mass and weight. There are several dinosaurs of the sauropod family that are longer in length by tens of feet but none close to the weight of a blue whale.
Even with the unconfirmed sizes of the Amphicoelias and the Barosaurus they do not approach the maximum recorded sizes of the largest of Blue whales and it remains the largest animal to ever live on Earth.
Hi, I am a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs