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Giraffatitan (was Re: [darren.naish@port.ac.uk: 52nd SVPCA meeting])

Mike Taylor wrote:

I wonder if anyone can tell me where "Giraffatitan" has been published
as a genus?  Paul 1988, which creates the name, proposes it as a
subgenus of _Brachiosaurus_, but not as a genus.  It seems that people
have started to run with the idea of it as a separate genus, but I'd
like to see the reference for this.

My understanding is that, as a subgenus, _Giraffatitan_ is automatically eligible to be a valid name for a genus.

Many sauropod workers have remarked (in print) that there are no unique derived features shared by _B. altithorax_ (from the Morrison) and _B. brancai_ (a Tendaguru species). Most of the postcranial features shared by _brancai_ and _altithorax_ appear to be plesiomorphic for the Titanosauriformes.

A brachiosaurid skull (USNM 5730) from the Morrison Formation, provisionally referred to _Brachiosaurus_, shows substantial differences to the skull of _B. brancai_. In some ways, USNM 5730 is intermediate between the skulls of _Camarasaurus_ and _B. brancai_. If USNM 5730 does belong to _B. alithorax_ it would confirm their generic separation and justify the validity of _Giraffatitan_ (type species, _G. brancai_).

Having said that, I don't know if anyone has EXPLICITLY proposed the name _Giraffatitan brancai_.


Carpenter, K. and Tidwell, V. (1998). Preliminary description of a _Brachiosaurus_ skull from Felch Quarry 1, Garden Park, Colorado. In: The Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation: An Interdisciplinary Study. Kenneth Carpenter, Danial Chure and James Kirkland eds. Modern Geology Vol. 23 No 1-4. pp. 69-84.

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