Mystery sauropod dorsals of the Wealden, part 1: BMNH R2523
October 4, 2007
Just a quick post to feed the desire for sheer sauropodous beauty. This picture shows a single partial vertebra in six different views. The top row, from left to right, shows the vertebra in left lateral view (i.e. the front is pointing to the left as you look at it), then in an oblique view, then in anterior view (i.e. from the front). The bottom row shows it in right lateral, oblique, and posterior (i.e. from the back).
This is a dorsal vertebra (i.e. from the back rather than the neck, hips or tail – see Matt’s “Regions of the vertebral column” tutorial. It’s probably from quite far back in the dorsal column, near the hips.
What kind of sauropod is it? I’m not sure. At first, I thought it was rather Camarasaurus-like, which would be an exciting result because there is no convincing camarasaurid material known from the Wealden. But then when I put it into a cladistic analysis, it popped out as a basal diplodocoid, though very weakly supported. I have a lot more work lined up to do on Wealden sauropod dorsals, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to you with a firmer identification at some point.
What is this Wealden, I hear you ask? It’s a big chunk of rock from the Early Cretaceous, extending across much of southern England and into the continent. Darren is a real Weald Jockey, so I’ll leave it to him to tell you more about it in a future post (or, more likely to point you to one of the Wealden posts on his Tetrapod Zoology blog).