The bizarre caudal neural spines of Tambatitanis amicitiae
August 13, 2014
Today for the first time I saw Saegusa and Ikeda’s (2014) new monograph describing the Japanese titanosauriform Tambatitanis amicitiae. I’ve not yet had a chance to read the paper — well, it’s 65 pages long — but it certainly looks like they’ve done a nice, comprehensive job on a convincing new taxon represented by good material: teeth, braincase, dentary, atlas, and as-yet unprepared fragmentary cervical, fragmentary dorsals, sacral spines, some nice caudals, some ribs and chevrons, and pubis and ilium.
What catches the eye immediately is the bizarre forward-curved neural spines of the anterior caudals:
Here’s the third caudal in detail. (The first is fragmentary, and the second has some minor reconstruction near the tip of the spine which sceptical readers might think is covering up a misconstruction):
And here is the right-lateral view in close-up:
A phylogenetic analysis based on that of D’Emic (2012) recovers the new taxon in a polytomy with the Euhelopus clade
that’s going to need a new name pretty soon, since it keeps growing and can’t be called Euhelopodidae for historical reasons: [that should probably be called Euhelopodidae: see discussion in comments]:
Nice to see that new sauropods just keep on rolling out of the ground faster than we can blog about them!
- D’Emic, Michael D. 2012. The early evolution of titanosauriform sauropod dinosaurs. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 166:624-671.
- Saegusa, Haruo, and Tadahiro Ikeda. 2014. A new titanosauriform sauropod (Dinosauria: Saurischia) from the Lower Cretaceous of Hyogo, Japan. Zootaxa 3848(1):1-66. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3848.1.1