Futalognkosaurus was one big-ass sauropod
October 20, 2009
At the 2007 SVP meeting in Austin, Texas, I noticed that the suffix “-ass” was ubiquitiously used as a modifier: where an Englishman such as myself might say “This beer is very expensive”, a Texan would say “That is one expensive-ass beer” — and the disease seemed to spread by osmosis through the delegates, so that by my last day in Austin is was seemingly impossible to hear an adjective without the “-ass” suffix.
All of which is by way of introducing the fact that Futalognkosaurus really was a big-ass sauropod, as this photo of its sacrum (with articulated ilia) shows:
A version of this photograph (in black and white and with the background chopped out) appeared in Ferdinand Novas’s recent book (Novas 2009) and attracted some discussion on the Dinosaur Mailing List.
Although in the past, we have complained about the lack of measurements in the two papers describing Futulognkosaurus (Calvo et al. 2007, 2008), this photo demonstrates a lower bound on its size: we know that it was, at least, Darned Big. (I would attempt to calculate some measurements from this photo using Porfiri as my scale-bar, but we all know how variable human proportions are, so it’s probably better to refrain.) The great news here is that, as explained by Ruben Juarez Valieri in a comment on an earlier article, a third article is on the way that will contain all the measurements we want.
Anyway, here are some more of Calvo’s awesome Futalognkosaurus photos, all used with grateful permission:
(That is an insanely tall cervical.)
How on Earth did they get that jacket out the ground and back to the museum?!
And finally — if you’ll forgive the flagrant appendicularity:
And now for something completely different:
Open Access Week
I’m pleased to say that this week (October 19-23) is Open Access Week. Get over to the site for statistics about the rise of open access. Particularly impressive is a sequence of institutions that are introducing open-access mandates, i.e. requiring that all research produced by its staff is made freely available to the world. We’re on the way!
- Calvo, J.O., Porfiri, J.D., Gonzalez-Riga, B.J., and Kellner, A.W.A. 2007. A new Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystem from Gondwana with the description of a new sauropod dinosaur. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias 79(3):529-541.
- Calvo, J.O., Porfiri, J.D., Gonzalez-Riga, B.J., and Kellner, A.W.A. 2008. Anatomy of Futalognkosaurus dukei Calvo, Porfiri, Gonzalez-Riga & Kellner, 2007 (Dinosauria, Titanosauridae) from the Neuquen Group (Late Cretaceous), Patagonia, Argentina. Arquivos do Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro 65(4):511-526.
- Novas, F. 2009. The Age of Dinosaurs in South America. Indiana University Press (Life of the Past series). 480 pages.