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Re: Ultrasaurus=Supersaurus (was Re: Trex femur (was : Dinofest))

Nick Pharris wrote:

_Ultrasaurus_: non-diagnostic sauropod (brachiosaurid?) material from Korea.
_Ultrasauros_: a mix of elements from the diplodocid _Supersaurus_ and a
particularly large _Brachiosaurus_. Am not personally sure which one the
type specimen comes from.

Zoe is correct. The holotype of _Ultrasaurus_ - a dorsal vertebra (BYU 9044) - was shown by Curtice et al. (1996) to belong to _Supersaurus_. Hence, _Ultrasaurus_ Jensen becomes a junior synonym of _Supersaurus_. This _Ultrasaurus_ was officially named and described in 1985; but by then the official name _Ultrasaurus_ had already been used - by a Korean researcher for an Asian sauropod. Dr Kim described a giant sauropod "ulna" from Korea, and assigned it to _Ultrasaurus_ as the new species _U. tabriensis_. Unknown to him, Jensen?s genus _Ultrasaurus_ had not yet been formally described, so Kim inadvertently coined the genus _Ultrasaurus_. In 1991, _Ultrasauros_ was put forward by George Olshevsky as a replacement for Jensen's sauropod. (As for the Korean sauropod, it was not as large as first thought: the giant ulna of this Ultrasaurus turned out to be the worn-down remains of a fairly unremarkable sauropod humerus.)

BYU 9462, a scapulocoracoid, was referred to _Ultrasaurus_ by Jensen (1985). It does not belong to _Supersaurus_, a diplodocid. BYU 9462 is clearly brachiosaurid was subsequently referred to _Brachiosaurus_ sp. by Curtice et al. (1996).

Oh, what a mess.

Another dorsal, BYU 5750, the holotype of _Dystylosaurus_, may also be referrable to _Supersaurus_. This has not yet been published AFAIK.

The _Supersaurus vivianae_ material, the _Dystylosaurus edwini_ material (which comprises a single dorsal), and the "_Ultrasauros macintoshi_" material all come from Dry Mesa Quarry 1, Mesa County, in Colorado. I have this horizon as the lower part of the Upper Brushy Basin Member, Morrison Formation, with an age of middle/late Kimmeridgian.

Hope this helps.



Dr Timothy J. Williams

USDA/ARS Researcher
Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014

Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax:   515 294 3163

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