The promised land

October 15, 2007


We promised non-presacrals and non-brachiosaurids, so here’s a diplodocid caudal vertebra in right lateral view. Most of the neural spine is blown off. The huge hole in the side of the vert is legit, though. That’s a pneumatic foramen (literally, air hole), through which air-filled tubes connected to the respiratory system entered the bone–just like in birds. More on that later. Mike and I are off to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Austin. Will you get the not-promised but so far always delivered extra post this week? Time alone will tell.

By the way, I see that I stupidly did not include any form of scale bar here. This bone is about the size of a really big toaster. If you dropped it on your foot, you’d never dance again. Not bad, considering it comes from about halfway down the tail…

7 Responses to “The promised land”

  1. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    Though I don’t know if you guys would respond on anything other than its vertebrae, what think ye of the Futalognkosaurus?

  2. Darren Naish Says:

    I think it’s good; I like it :) Shame about the name though.

  3. Darren Naish Says:

    By the way, when you were thinking of an object to use in size comparison, was ‘a really big toaster’ the best you could come up with? I suggest we get more inventive: it’s about the size of a flywheel from a Mk 3 1970 Ford Cortina.

    I thought turkeys were the standard unit in palaeontology.

  4. David Marjanović Says:

    Yeah. The name is actually Futalongkosaurus.


    Hm. Is the vertebra as long as a laptop keyboard is wide?

  5. Mike Taylor Says:

    Hi, David, good to have you on board. Sorry to have been a few days in moderating your comments — as you probably guessed, Matt and I were at SVP (and everyone knows how lazy Darren is). Now that I’ve moderated you once, you should be able to post freely.

    Amazingly, the spelling “Futalognkosaurus” is indeed correct. That’s according to the Systematic Paleontology section of the Calvo et al. 2007 paper that introduced the name.

  6. […] November 10th, 2007 I see now the Mike has beaten me to the punch in providing your at-least-weekly dose of sauroponderous vertebrawesome. And a nice job it is. Still, I feel funny about you not getting a new picture, so I’m posting my late entry anyway. For some reason, despite–or perhaps because of–my ardent devotion to cervicals, I have taken it on myself to push the anatomical boundaries of SV-POW! again. […]

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