October 8, 2007


This one’s not about the morphology of the vertebrae, but rather their cumulative effect. The subject is the mounted Brachiosaurus outside the Field Museum in Chicago. The picture was taken in July 2005 by me or by Mike; we had two Nikon Coolpix cameras going and just pooled the photos.

We’ll get you some sacrals, caudals, and non-brachiosaurids one of these days. We swear.

12 Responses to “Skyward!”

  1. Emile Says:

    Spectacular! It looks disturbingly like a sadistic Jurassic roller-coaster.

  2. Dave Hone Says:

    Hi guys, just wanted to say congrats on the site. Very nice! Glad to see you spreading the word, though I might have to retaliate with ‘Jehol Picture of the Week’ or ‘Pterosaur Skull of the Week’ at some point!

    Let me know if you need any pictures! ;-)


  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    Hi, Dave, good to hear from you. No doubt you can easily feel our jealousy rays radiating out at you over there in the land of absurdly preserved fossils. Believe me, no-one would be happier to see a Jehol Picture of the Week blog than I would! And, yes, please bung and nice sauropod vertebra photos you take in our directions, it’ll be nice to vary things a little from our natural areas of the Wealden (Darren and me) and Early Cretaceous North America (Matt). In fact, it’s all a bit Earlycretaceoustastic around here.

  4. Darren Naish Says:

    Dave has already sent me some shots of Huanghetitan ruyangensis that I’ll use here some time. Having said that though, I’ve already used them on Tet Zoo.

  5. Amanda Says:

    I’d like to know more about the effect the vertebrae have on how far back our sauropod friends could move their necks. My neck has a pretty decent range of motion…how would it compare to the range of motion in a sauropod’s neck. Does it have to do the attachment site of the neck to the body?

    Thanks again!


  6. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    ” I might have to retaliate with ‘Jehol Picture of the Week’ or ‘Pterosaur Skull of the Week’ “

  7. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    ” I might have to retaliate with ‘Jehol Picture of the Week’ or ‘Pterosaur Skull of the Week’ “

    [Fx: drool]

  8. Mike Taylor Says:


    Your question about the range of neck movement that is allowed by the cervical vertebrae has been addressed in some detail in a series of papers by Kent Stevens and Michael Parrish, beginning with a three-pager in Science in 1999. We’ll cover this in a subsequent post.

  9. Graeme Elliott Says:

    A skull! A skull! Huzzah! Congradulations to whoever took the shot, It’a a beauty.

  10. Zach Miller Says:

    Now hold on. Is that Brachiosaurus or Giraffititan?

  11. Mike Taylor Says:

    Hi Graeme. Right now, the safest thing to say is that the neck is Brachiosaurus brancai — the name Giraffatitan as proposed by Paul (1988) as a subgenus for this species, and raised to the rank of genus by Olshevsky (1991) but it’s not been used subsequently except on the Internet. But whatever you call it, that species — the African brachiosaur from Tendaguru — is the source of pretty much all our knowledge of brachiosaur necks and skulls. (From North America there are a few isolated brachiosaur cervicals in the process of being described, and a single skull described by Carpenter and Tidwell (1998) which may be that of Brachiosaurus altithorax.)

  12. […] were idiots back when we visited Chicago, so our photos are mostly useless. We have lots that show the mounted skeleton as art, but very few that are scientifically useful. But what you can make out from the photo above […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: