“Seeing the reaction of the people is fantastic. It all makes sense – we do this because we’re interested in the science, but it all goes back to society.”

Palaeontologist Diego Pol is talking about a very special fossil specimen, a giant dinosaur he excavated in the desert of central Argentina. This titan of the Cretaceous Period, or at least a fibreglass replica of its skeleton, has now taken up residence as an exhibit in New York’s American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

The cast is 122ft long (37.5m) and represents a giant plant-eating titanosaur that lived in the forests of Patagonia between 100 and 95 million years ago. It may well be the biggest dinosaur yet discovered, but is so new it doesn’t yet have a formal scientific name.

The dinosaur cast was unveiled before a packed crowd of media on 14 January. The skeleton grazes the 19ft-high (5.8m) ceilings of the museum’s Wallach Orientation Center and its head and neck stick out of the room, gazing towards the lifts.

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