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SVP 1996 sauropod questions addressed



On Wed, 22 Jan 1997, Darryl wrote:

> 2.  What is the story on the new iguanodontid and titanosaurid from the
> Early Cretaceous of Utah?  All the information I got is a picture of one
> vertabra of the "ouranosaurid?".  For the titanosaur, it says teeth and
> vertabrae.  Could somebody elabourate?

        The titanosaurid material from Utah is, well let's just say I 
jump and spin when I think about how mighty it is (in my 
not-so-always-humble opinion).  Lots of vertebrae and teeth and 
appendicular elements.  I am not at 
liberty (unfortunately) to divulge much more about the material, as 
Brooks Britt, Ken Stadtman, Rod Scheetz and I have *much* work to be done, 
but I am so tickled to get to work on it, I can't even begin to say how 
much!  The titanosaurid material is by far the oldest in North America 
and is the oldest confidently identified titanosaurid material anywhere 
in the world (I know, I know, what about Titanosaurus valdensis?  
Janenschia robusta?  Hopefully I can get over there and see, but from the 
photos and papers I have I cannot accept that the caudal series of 
Janenschia (which was found at a different locality than the holotype 
material, which lacks caudal vertebrae) is not diplodocid.  As for T. 
valdensis?  Who knows, I have never seen proper figures/photos).  The 
North American Early Cretaceous sauropod renaissance is coming, but, as 
wise Dr. Holtz advised, "Patience."  A mantra I find myself repeating 
over and over when I begin salivating at the thought of the new western 
dinosaur finds...  As for the iguanodontid material, all I can say is 
that it lacks air sacs and barely received a second look!
 
> 4.  Finally, how much new material is there in the new Ampheocoelias find?
> About how much is now known of it?

        I'd like to know as well!  Jeff Wilson (lead author) was not 
present at the meetings (field work the lucky dog!), and the poster only 
had 2 figures (maaybe 3, tops, but not enough for comparative 
purposes!).  As the 
holotype material of Amphicoelias is at the AMNH we would have loved to 
have spoken with Jeff.  From what I recall they have vertebrae (caudals, 
dorsals, a cervical or two(?)) and a femur.  I assume it is the femur 
that causes him to refer the material to Amphicoelias, as the holotype 
Amphicoelias material is really scrappy and distorted.  Someday (in my 
spare time my father always says, now I know what he means) I'll sneak 
out to Montana and take a peak.  Amphicoelias has had 3 species, altus 
(not valid as far as I am concerned, or at least not diagnostic enough to 
refer things to this genus), latus (Camarasaurus) and 
fragillimus (the big ol' vertebra that up and disappeared), so if Jeff 
and Matt are right then maybe we can add another species to this storied 
genus.


> On another note, is there any new information on the new (within the 
last few years)  and fairly complete brachiosaur from the Morrison of 
Colorado (I > think it was)?


        Not sure which one you are referring to.  If you mean the one at 
Thermopolis, it's actually a Camarasaurus (they prepared out some dorsal 
vertebrae, they have bifurcate spines and, therefore, fail the 
Brachiosaurus test).  But if someone knows of another Brachiosaurus 
floating around, I'd love to hear about it!  My Brachiosaurus 
re-description, based on new cervical, dorsal and appendicular material from 
Dry Mesa and another locality has grown such that I find myself honor bound 
to examine the Tendaguru material (Brachiosaurus brancai) so as to do 
science as a whole justice, and make sure I make the right call the 
first time around.  But when this paper comes out Brachiosaurus 
altithorax will be MUCH better known than ever before, and I believe a 
few surprises will be in store!