Credit where it’s due
January 11, 2008
A hat-tip to Paul Barrett, who’s reminded us that technically we’re not supposed to be using photographs of Natural History Museum specimens — at least, not without acknowledgement. Our apologies go the museum for having overlooked this: we’d like to remind you all that all photographs of specimens owned by the museum are also copyright the museum, and we’ll try to remember to make that point explicitly in all future posts that show NHM specimens.
For the same reason, unfortunately, we can’t sell you Xenposeidon shirts — to do that would require a marketing agreement with the museum, which is not really a direction we want to go in … as you can imagine. So with apologies to those of you who didn’t snap one up while they were available, we’ve removed all the links from this site. (Congratulations to Mike From Ottawa, who, so far as I can tell, is in fact the only person outside the three of us who had the good taste to buy a shirt. Note to NHM commercial staff: our markup on that sale was £0.00 (or $0.00 in US funds) which we will be happy to hand over if you wish :-)
Finally, since we do promise “all sauropod vertebrae, all the time”, I sign off with a photograph: and a historically significant one at that:
Image copyright the Natural History Musuem, since it’s the museum’s material.
What we have here are, in a sense, the first sauropod specimens ever: the caudal vertebrae, and associated chevrons, that are the type material of the first named sauropod species, Cetiosaurus brevis Owen 1842. From the Wealden, natch. The vertebrae, from the anterior part of the tail, are BMNH R2544-2547, and are shown in anterior view; the chevrons are BMNH R2548-2550. These elements may belong to the same species, and maybe even the same individual, as the holotype of Pelorosaurus conybeari Mantell 1950. If you care to wade through the taxonomic quagmire associated with this series, you can find a discussion on pp. 1559-1560 of Taylor and Naish (2007) (the Xenoposeidon paper) — a discussion which I am more than happy to state, for the record, Darren wrote.
Update — 1 April 2009 (but not an April Fool)
Cetiosaurus brevis is not after all the first validly named Cetiosaurus species, because we (Darren and I) followed Upchurch and Martin (2003) in conflating nomenclatural and taxonomic validity. According to a strict interpretation of ICZN rules, C. medius is the type species, but we now have an ICZN petition out that should change that and fix C. oxoniensis as the type species, which is what everyone means in practice anyway.
- Mantell, Gideon. A. 1850. On the Pelorosaurus: an undescribed gigantic terrestrial reptile, whose remains are associated with those of the Iguanodon and other saurians in the strata of Tilgate Forest, in Sussex. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 140: 379-390.
- Owen, Richard. 1842. Report on British fossil reptiles, Part II. Reports of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 11: 60-204.
- 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