Mystery sauropod dorsals of the Wealden, part 2: BMNH R90a

October 28, 2007

Here is another beautiful but (so far) unidentifiable isolated dorsal vertebra from the Wealden Supergroup. Rather than the usual orthogonal views (anterior, posterior, lateral) this is in an oblique view: right anterolateral.


This vertebra is one of two that, together, make up the specimen BMNH R90. For my own convenience I have assigned them lower-case latters so each can be referred to individually. I call this one R90a. R90b is pretty similar, and it seems a reasonable assumption that they are from the same individual.

As with the wonder that is BMNH R2523, I don’t know what R90a is yet. A preliminary cladistic analysis indicates that it is a neosauropod, probably macronarian and most likely somphospondylian, but that is based on very weak resolution and will quite likely change once I’ve added my suite of new dorsal-vertebra characters to the matrix.

10 Responses to “Mystery sauropod dorsals of the Wealden, part 2: BMNH R90a”

  1. Julia Says:

    See, when you say “(so far) unidentifiable” I take that as a challenge…

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    You’d better not identify it, otherwise I’ll have nothing to write about in my dissertation!

    Well, OK, this particular vertebra is not a HUGE part of that work, but still … For what it’s worth, it strikes me as somewhat titanosaury in character, and we know that there are titanosaurs in the Wealden thanks to the “Pelorosaurusbecklesii forelimb. (I’d love to include a photo of the “P.” becklesii elements, but that would be contrary to the all-sauropod-vertebrae-all-the-time charter of the blog.)

  3. Julia Says:

    Oh alright then – I’ll wait until you identify it, and then it can be a data point in my dissertation! ;-)

    I’ll get those C. stewarti photos from Matt, and hopefully they’ve got the other vertebrae I spoke to you about, so you can see what you’re dealing with.

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    Ack! I gotta find those photos. Hmm. Stay tuned.

  5. maria perez Says:

    I am unable to find a copy of our brief correspondence, but recall your asking for a picture or two. I am assisting my husband, who is quietly working on a super-neat sauropod project in New Mexico. I would be happy to share a few vertebral pics, but where do I send?

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    Hi, Maria, thanks for offering to contribute. I suppose I should set up an email alias that gets forwarded to the three of us SV-POW! amigos; but for now, just send them to me on .

  7. […] its fair share of enigmatic sauropod remains (see Mystery sauropod dorsals of the Wealden part 1, part 2, part 3). Poor taxonomic decisions, a dearth of adequate descriptive literature, a lack of […]

  8. […] never blogged about “Pelorosaurus” becklesii before, but it’s true: I’ve mentioned it three times in comments, but never in a post. It’s good to finally fix […]

  9. […] off, since the early 1990s. Then in the late 2000s, when I was working on Xenoposeidon and other Wealden sauropods, I started work independently on a redescription — which of course is why I […]

  10. […] That’s Xeno on the left, of course. On the right, we have one of the various Wealden titanosauriform dorsal vertebrae that were constantly getting referred back and forth between taxa in the late 1800s. I think it might be one of the NPMUK PR R90 vertebrae, perhaps the one that, for disambiguation purposes, I’ve informally named R90a. […]

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