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Re: Sauropods Size



In a message dated 4/14/99 11:31:29 AM EST, tholmes@dolphinsoft.com writes:

<< Jack McIntosh, David Gillette, Rodolfo Coria, and Brian Curtice are all
 expert on the biggest of the big. Gillette named Seismosaurus, currently
 considered by most to be the longest sauropod at about 150 ft. Curtice
 recently compared Supersaurus and Ultrasaurus and helped determined their
 status in relation to Brachiosaurus. I just visited Rodolfo Coria in Plaza
 Huincul, Argentina and saw the bones of Argentinosaurus in his museum--this
 is considered the largest (weight/height) of the sauropods. And Jack, of
 course, is a leading expert on all sauropods. >>

Largest sauropod overall: Amphicoelias fragillimus
This is the largest dinosaur ever described in the scientific literature. 
Trouble is, the only known specimen is a huge partial vertebra (a neural 
arch--the upper part of a vertebra: largest such fossil ever described) that 
is estimated, when complete, to have been more than two meters tall. This 
fossil was extremely fragile (very thin bony laminae) when Cope described it 
in 1878 (hence the species name: and we need the species name because Cope 
also described smaller species in the genus Amphicoelias), and it apparently 
didn't survive intact after he measured and described it. It was not in the 
Cope collection acquired by the American Museum and it is believed destroyed; 
all we have of it is Cope's description. But (as I recall) the description 
and illustration are good enough to identify the neural arch as belonging to 
a gigantic diplodocid. If this dinosaur had roughly the same proportions as 
its smaller relative, Diplodocus, then it would have been >at least< 150 feet 
long and would have weighed about 100 tons--something like a blue whale on 
four legs. These figures would make it both the longest and the heaviest 
dinosaur on record. I understand that paleontologists have tried to relocate 
the site where this vertebra was found (somewhere in Colorado), in case there 
is more of this dinosaur still in the ground, but so far no luck. I'd 
appreciate anything that might be added to this thumbnail account.