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Re: No Subject

2009/9/11  <GSP1954@aol.com>:
> I am very pleased to see the excellent work Michael has done to firmly
> elevate Giraffatitan to full genus status.

Hi, Greg, thanks for your kind comments.

> I recently did a proverbial dope slap to the forehead when I realized that
> the Brachiosaur holotype dorsals have a very unusual medial rib articulation
> in which the parapophyses are set on strange goose neck peduncles not seen
> in other brachiosaurs or dinosaurs as far as I know. It is blazingly obvious
> yet no one noticed them over all the years.

... including me, in the new paper :-)  That was a *headdesk* moment
for me, too, when you pointed it out.  For anyone who isn't as
intimately familiar with Brachiosaurus altithorax dorsal vertebral
morphology as Greg, you may find the photos on these pages

(look at the very bottom of the photo)

(look how wide apart the parapophyses are on the front vert)

(that's the parapophyseal facet right down at anteroventral corner of
the neural arch)

> Mike's skeletal restoration of ye old Brachiosaurus is good, the only thing
> I might change is that the anterior dorsals may have been a little more
> elevated. I recently modified my classic Giraffatitan to give it a straight
> dorsal series (as per the B. altithorax type) which further elevates the
> shoulders making it even more giraffe like.

I'm finding it hard to visualise that -- is there an online image?

> It is good to se that Mike confirms
> the unusually small, rather mammalian tails of these brachiosaurs in contrast
> to some recent claims that they had more typically large sauropod caudal
> series.

I missed that -- do you have a reference?

> One thing that is disconcerting is that the hip and tail usually
> applied to the Giraffatitan holotype presacrals and limb material to make a
> complete G. brancai may be a different taxon.

... or even some of the dorsal vertebrae might be from a different
taxon!  (See pp. 800-801 of the new paper.)

> The one point where Mike errs is in the silly nonsense about Giraffatitan
> not being a fine name. Au contraire, it is perfectly apropos and superbly
> elegant like the animal itself, being the ideal title for the taxon, a name
> that cannot be improved upon.


Sorry, Greg, I just don't see it :-)

> Brachiosaurus is nice enough but all it means is arm lizard, snort.

It is true; the _meaning_ of Brachiosaurus is pretty darned lame.  I
think it's more about all the glorious associations of the name
itself, rather than what it translates as.  I guess that people felt
the same way about abandoning Brontosaurus for Apatosaurus (but at
least in this case the more euphonious name lives on alongside the

> The run of the mill and
> over used saurus ending is avoided.

You can have an AMEN for that, at least!

> It's a short and punchy appellation with
> nothing obscure about it, and it is easy to say Giraffatitan brancai unlike
> some of the crappy names coming out these days (can anyone actually
> pronounce Futalognkosaurus? Should anyone have to?).

That one really is particularly unappealing; although Qiaowanlong
kangxii is also a bit of a mouthful.  But never mind -- at least we
have the lyrical elegance of Xenoposeidon.  (And I have a stonker of a
name all lined up and ready to go in an in-review ms., too.)

> I attribute Mike's peculiar
> failure in this regard to the diet on the British isles -- bangers and mash is
> fine fare but too much clogs up the cognition.

"The deep-fried Mars bar is a symptom of a wider crisis" --
Nutritionist Ann Ralph, on the Scottish diet.

I'd be the first to admit that traditional English food is hardly the
most exciting in the world.  However, since the curry was adopted as
the national dish, I can't complain.