Rogue Scholar Posts

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Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Mike Taylor

That’s FMNH PR 25107, better known as a the holotype of Brachiosaurus altithorax — the biggest known dinosaur at the time of its description (Riggs 1903) and still for my money one of the most elegant, along with its buddy and one-time genus-mate Giraffatitan brancai . I had a spare morning in Chicago two Tuesday ago, and Bill Simpson (collection manager of fossil vertebrates at the Field Museum) managed to fit it a collections

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Matt Wedel

Here are cervicals 4 and 8 from MB.R.2180, the big mounted Giraffatitan in Berlin. Even though this is one of the better sauropod necks in the world, the vertebrae have enough taphonomic distortion that trying to determine what neutral, uncrushed shape they started from is not easy.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Mike Taylor

Long before Matt and others were CT-scanning sauropod vertebrae to understand their internal structure, Werner Janensch was doing it the old-fashioned way. I’ve been going through old photos that I took at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin back in 2005, and I stumbled across this dorsal centrum: Dorsal vertebra centum of ? Giraffatitan in ventral view, with anterior to top.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Matt Wedel

Unworn: Worn: Spent some time last week just admiring these things. They’re pretty cool. EDIT: in answer to Mike’s question in the first comment below, here’s a photo of some more worn teeth, showing that the level of wear in the one shown above is not unusual.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Matt Wedel

Nothing too serious here, just a fun shot I got while in the collections at BYU this past week. The Brachiosaurus element is metacarpal 1 (thumb column) from BYU 4744, the Potter Creek material. I highlighted my own metacarpal 3. There is a metacarpal 3 from this specimen, but I didn’t see it on the shelf. According to D’Emic and Carrano (2019), the MC3 is 60cm long, vs 57cm for this MC1.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Matt Wedel

Spotted this beauty in the collections at Dinosaur Journey this past summer. With the front end of the centrum blown off, taphonomy once again proves to be the poor man’s CT machine, giving us a great look at the pneumatic spaces inside the vertebra. EDIT, Oct. 13, 2019 — WHOOPS! That ain’t a cervical. Based on the plates in Madsen (1976), it’s a dead ringer for the second dorsal vertebra.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Mike Taylor

You’ll remember that we’ve been playing with CM 555, a subadult apatosaurine of indeterminate species, though John McIntosh assigned it to Brontosaurus (then Apatosaurus ) excelsus . At the start of the week, we had the centra and neural arches of cervicals 1-14, plus there were some appendicular elements on a shelf that we’d not yet gone to. But then today, Matt found this drawer: It contained a nice selection of

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Matt Wedel

We’ve posted a lot here about how crazy the cervical vertebrae of apatosaurines are (for example: 1, 2, 3), and especially the redonkulosity of their cervical ribs. But I think you will agree with me that this is still an arresting sight: That’s MWC 1946, a mid-cervical from the Mygatt-Moore Quarry that was figured by Foster et al. (2018: fig.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week
Author Matt Wedel

I am still building up to a big post on vertebral orientation, but in the meantime, check out this caudal vertebra of a Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis . This is right lateral view–the vert is strongly procoelous, and the articular ends of the centrum are really tilted relative to the long axis. I find this encouraging, for two reasons.