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Re: Amazing Tendaguru and the most prolific localities in the world

> Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 18:00:23 +0200 (CEST)
> From: =?iso-8859-2?Q?Vladim=EDr=20=20Socha?= <Seismosaurus@seznam.cz>
> I've read a note in one of my books of a giant _Giraffatitan_
> individual, that was of a 1/3 larger than the specimen mounted in
> Humboldt Natural history Museum. That would mean a sauropod some 33
> meters long and 18 m tall.

Your book is probably referring to the specimen HMN XV2, known only
from a 131cm Fibula.  Since the fibula of the much more complete HMN
SII specimen is 119cm long, XV2's fibula, and most likely the entire
animal, was almost exactly 10% longer than SII (the specimen that the
mount is based on).  Assuming isometric scaling, that would make XV2
1.1^3 = 1.33 times as heavy as SII, which is probably where the "1/3
larger" idea comes from -- it's 1/3 _heavier_, not _longer_.

By the way, the name _Giraffatitan_ is not widely loved.  Wilson and
Sereno (1998) among others prefer the original name, _Brachiosaurus
brancai_.  The paper that erected the subgenus _Giraffatitan_, Paul
1988, did so on the basis of differences between the anterior dorsals
of the two _Brachiosaurus_ species; however, the only known anterior
dorsal of _B. altithorax_ turned out to be from _Supersaurus_, a
diplodocid (Curtice et al. 1996), so it's hardly surprising that it
was different from those of _B. brancai_!  Only the seven most
posterior dorsals are preserved in the type specimen FMNH 25107 of
_B. altithorax_; these are most likely D5-D11, but since the length of
the _Brachiosaurus_ dorsal column is not known, we can't be sure.
Other _B. altithorax_ material is disappointingly scarce.

(And for what it's worth, there is not much anterior dorsal material
of _B. brancai_ out there, either: the cervicodorsal transition from
C10 to the anterior part of D3 (or at least its centra) was preserved,
excavated and figured in Janensch 1950; but it appears that this
entire 4m-plus sequence has disappeared down the back of the sofa
since then.)

> I also wonder, which localities on the whole world would
> professional paleontologists consider the most prolific and valuable
> for the "dinosaur paleontology". My humble opinion would be:
> 1.) Liaoning (SE China)

Naah, Liaoning is crap.  It doesn't have _any_ brachiosaurs.

Hope this helps.


Curtice, Brian D., Kenneth. L. Stadtman and Linda. J. Curtice.  1996.
A reassessment of Ultrasauros Macintoshi (Jensen, 1985).  The
continental Jurassic, M. Morales (Ed.)  Museum of Northern Arizona
Bulletin 60:87-95.

Janensch, Werner.  1950.  Die Wirbelsaule von _Brachiosaurus brancai_.
Palaeontographica (Suppl. 7) 3:27-93.

Paul, Gregory S.  1988.  The brachiosaur giants of the Morrison and
Tendaguru with a description of a new subgenus, _Giraffatitan_, and a
comparison of the world's largest dinosaurs.  Hunteria 2(3):1-14.

Wilson, Jeffrey A. and Paul C. Sereno.  1998.  Early evolution and
Higher-level phylogeny of sauropod dinosaurs.  Society of Vertebrate
Paleontology, Memoir 5:1-68.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Never mind that, wot about my bleedin' parrot?!" -- Monty
         Python's Flying Circus.

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