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No bones about it, Sir David's still a telly titan; Natural history legend's latest show is another monster success.

Byline: WORDS RICK FULTON

Sir David Attenborough turns 90 in May but he still looks at the natural world through the wondrous eyes of a child.

After submerging himself in the fantastic series Great Barrier Reef, the legendary broadcaster has barely towelled himself dry when he fronts another eye-popping programme.

In tomorrow's Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur on BBC1, he will return to his first love - fossils.

He spent his childhood collecting fossils and stones and his latest documentary will tell the story of the world's largest dinosaur.

In 2014, a shepherd spotted the tip of a fossilised bone sticking out of a rock in La Flecha Farm in the Chubut province of the Argentinian desert.

A team began excavating the site and invited David to come along with them on their journey.

Sir David said: "Like many people young and old, I'm fascinated by dinosaurs. The giants in particular capture the imagination, so joining this investigation was too good an opportunity to miss.

"This creature seems to defy the laws of nature.

"The skeleton remained hidden and marvellously preserved for 100 million years."

The first bone turned out to be a 2.4-metre long thigh bone, the largest ever found and eventually the team realised they had discovered a new species of titanosaur, that roamed the Earth 102 million years ago.

Measuring 37m long - close to four London buses put end to end - and weighing 70 metric tons - as much as 14 African elephants - latest calculations show that this new giant herbivore is the biggest animal ever to walk the Earth.

A comparison of the backbones shows that this creature was 10 per cent larger than previous recordholder, the Argentinosaurus. The one-off special sees Sir David going to the dig site to witness the uncovering of these vast fossils and to the Museum of Palentology Edigio Feruglio laboratories in Trelew, Argentina, where they are cleaned and examined.

He talks to the paleontologists studying the fossils along with comparative anatomy experts and looks at what the bones reveal about the lives of these dinosaurs with the help of 3D scanning, CGI visuals and animation.

Finally, the team spent 40,000 hours assembling a near complete skeleton of the dinosaur in an old wool-packing warehouse.

David added: "What a thrill it would have been to see this stupendous creature when it was alive. Piecing this complex jigsaw puzzle together has been a fascinating adventure. This is the largest land animal yet discovered - adding one further marvel to the astonishing history of life on Earth."

By the end of the dig, the team discover more than 220 bones.

These fossils came from not just one dinosaur but seven, all belonging to a new species of the giant plant-eating titanosaur, which is yet to be given its own scientific name.

Sir David said: "Like many detective stories, this one began by chance. A shepherd stumbled across the tip of a huge bone poking out of the ground.

"It proved to be the biggest dinosaur find of the century. Bone after bone emerged from the rocks." And it's only right that Sir David was part of it. The boy who collected fossils and went on to make shows like Life on Earth, Frozen Planet, Lost Worlds and Sky's groundbreaking Flying Monsters 3D in 2010, was rightly awestruck at this new find. Tune in and you will be too.? Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur is on BBC1, tomorrow, at 6.30pm.

"This creature seems to the laws of And it adds further the astonishing history on Earth.

CAPTION(S):

ORIGINS ... CGI titanosaur embryo

BONE COLLECTOR ... Sir David

BIG BEAST... Giant titanosaur

THIGH SAY ... Sir David Attenborough shows how huge the titanosaur femur is
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 23, 2016
Words:618
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