Xenoposeidon week, day 1: Introducing Xeno
November 15, 2007
Today is an exciting day here at SV-POW! Towers, with the publication of the new dinosaur Xenoposeidon proneneukos, based on — you guessed it — a sauropod vertebra. The reference is:
Taylor, Michael P. and Darren Naish. 2007. An unusual new neosauropod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Hastings Beds Group of East Sussex, England. Palaeontology 50 (6): 1547-1564. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2007.00728.x
And what a vertebra it is! Let’s take a look:
Here we see the vertebra from both sides: on the left side, we see it in left lateral aspect, and on the right, in right lateral. The images at the top are photographs, and those at the bottom are the interpretive drawing, so you should be able to find all the parts.
Those of you who are long-time sauropod-vertebra lovers will immediately spot two things: first, this thing is weird. And second, the left and right sides are significantly different. We’ll show you the anterior and posterior views later this week: we have a lot to say about the vertebra, and we don’t want to dump it all on you at once. There is a lot to say about this bone, and I’ll talk in detail about the autapomorphies and asymmetry later today. (By the way, Autapomorphies and Asymmetry would have been a good a name for Jane Austen novel). I’d love to do it now, but as I write (5:07am) I have eight minutes before a taxi arrives to whisk me away to Gloucester station, whence a train will take me to London for a day of filming news stories about this awesome bone. I have to say in all honesty that I am surprised at the level of media interest: pleasantly surprised, but surprised. For example, there are articles in Nature News, The Guardian (where it’s on the front page of the online edition), The Times, The Mail, The Sun (though happily thire photograph shows me fully clothed), The Scotsman, Metro (a free daily paper that people pick up on the tube in London) and no doubt many others that I’ve not yet seen.
For those of you who can’t wait, the paper describing this specimen formally can be downloaded. But stay tuned: we can say things here on the blog that we couldn’t say in the paper.
Sorry to rush: the taxi waits; and so do ITN, Sky News and Channel 4. Plus I need to photograph some bird skeletons while I’m at the museum (hey, they’re saurischians, right?)