Plateosaurus is pathetic

January 16, 2013

DSCN5593-giraffatitan-vs-plateosaurus

This photograph is of what I consider the closest thing to the Platonic Ideal sauropod vertebra: it’s the eighth cervical of our old friend the Giraffatitan brancai paralectotype MB.R.2181. (previously known as “Brachiosaurusbrancai HM S II — yes, it’s changed genus and specimen number, both recently, but independently.)

And if you look very carefully, down at the bottom, you can see the same vertebra, C8, of the prosauropod Plateosaurus. Pfft.

This photo was taken down in the basement of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, on the same 2008 trip where Matt took the “Mike in Love” photo from two days ago. For anyone who didn’t recognise the specific vertebra I was in love with in that picture, shame on you! It is of course our old friend the ?8th dorsal vertebra of the same specimen, which we’ve discussed in detail here on account of its unique spinoparapophyseal laminae, its unexpectedly missing infradiapophyseal lamina and its bizarre perforate anterior centroparapophyseal laminae.

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8 Responses to “Plateosaurus is pathetic”


  1. well, no – Plateosaurus is not pathetic, but Gitaffatitan is titanic! ;)

    seriously: the size diff is enormous! I love placing matching verts next to each other for visitors (they are handily close in the bone cellar), and then tell them what the differences really are – and there is only one big difference: airsacs IN bone instead of NEXT TO bone! All the other key features for gigantism are already there in Plateosaurus!

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    I knew you’d object :-)


  3. Oh, I’m not objecting! I am just taking the viewpoint from the ground, not that of an airhead (and airneck, etc….) ;)


  4. Not the same discrepancy in size, of course, but I was once working in the BHI collections and happened to arrange Gorgosaurus, Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus braincases on the same table. There really is a marked difference between the Big Guy and his predecessors.

    (Had there been a Tarbosaurus braincase cast available, though, there would have been more of a gradation.)

  5. Mike Taylor Says:

    Oh, Tom, if only you’d taken a photo! (Or do you have one tucked away somewhere?)

  6. Vertebrat Says:

    The Brachiosaurus/Giraffatitan C8 makes a fast-looking spaceship with lots of conspicuous hardware – the Star Destroyer of vertebrae. But even so powerful a capital ship is vulnerable to a swarm of highly maneuverable Plateosaurus cervicals.

    SVPOW Tutorial N: “How to tell where in the series a dorsal vertebra belongs, or, how Vertebrat should have known that wasn’t a first dorsal”?


  7. […] having written this post, I now see that I wrote an essentially identical one, with an essentially identical image, earlier this year. My memory is definitely going. Oh well: […]


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