January 13, 2009
Just got back my supervisor’s comments on my draft dissertation front-matter. Looks like I’m not going to be able to go with my chosen title.
Here is another of my supervisor’s corrections to my draft dissertation, this in the part of the acknowledgements that mentions Darren:
(For anyone who doesn’t get the reference, see this post at Tetrapod Zoology.)
Matt won’t let me get away with a post that doesn’t include a sauropod vertebra, so here is BMNH R173b, a Mystery Sauropod Cervical of the Wealden, in right lateral view:It’s not in super-great shape, but this about as good as Wealden cervicals get: for some reason, dorsals seem to fare better in the preservation stakes. I’m not going to attempt even the most tentative ID for this.
The thing to look out for here is the absolutely honking huge cervical rib. In, well, every other sauropod cervical in existence, the cervical ribs quickly taper as they extend backwards from the diapophysis and parapophysis, but this does no such thing: it seems to have a big, fat club on the end of it. The next time I’m down in the NHM collections I need to have a careful look at this and check that someone hasn’t attached a chunk of tibia or something — but if this is legit, then what we have here is the one sauropod element I’ve ever seen for which Martin et al.’s (1998) ventral bracing hypothesis might just work. (Although actually it wouldn’t, for other reasons which I won’t discuss now.)