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RE: RE : Giganotosaurus size confusion ...



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> dexter dexter

As for recent questions concerning the size of different theropod taxa:

1) Size is a property of individuals, not taxa.  So size has to be tied to a
particular specimen.

2) There are no complete specimens of giant theropods.  Even Sue is not 100%
complete along the vertebral column, so estimates of that specimen's length
are estimates.  The type of Giganotosaurus is much more incomplete.  Hence
the variation in length estimates.

3) I do not have handy the ilium length for the type of Gig., although it
should be recoverable.  No detailed osteology of the beastie has been
published yet, so I will have to look at my notes for this.

> Yeah, that's strange. The thing that confuses me the most is
> "Das Monster Von Minden". I mean, from what I have read it's
> like REALLY big, but also said to be a Jurassic Theropod. And
> Allosaurids didn't get really HUGE until mid-cretaceous ...

Why the confusion?  Beware of putting the cart before the horse (or in this
case, the "theory" before the data).  Should the Minden Monster turn out a)
to be as big as it is claimed and b) an allosaurid, then we will confirm
that really gigantic allosaurids occurred in the Jurassic (which we actually
already knew, via the "Saurophaganax" specimens).

However, the data for the Minden Monster have yet to be published, and its
comparison as being x% larger than Allosaurus doesn't help much: see point
"1" before.  Which specimen of Allosaurus was it compared to?  My strong
suspicion would be that it was compared to the only currently well-described
individual specimen, namely USNM 4734 (subject of Gilmore's 1920 monograph,
and previously used as a "standard" for Allosaurus: see the initial
description of Deltadromeus, for an example).  But USNM 4734 is not a
particularly large individual of Allosaurus: many larger specimens exist,
but have not been described in detail (or at all, as individuals).

So, as someone once said, let's wait for the paper.  Or at least for a
particular set of measurements (femur length, tibia length, etc.).

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796