Another diplodocine tail

September 30, 2008

We’ve done diplodocine caudal vertebrae before but, what the hell, you can never have too many of them. Here’s the tail base of the Diplodocus mount (DMNH 1494) at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Note that the neural spines on the caudals are quite short and posteriorly inclined (this is also something we’ve covered before). But, whatever, it’s pretty isn’t it? Matt took the photo.

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16 Responses to “Another diplodocine tail”

  1. Nathan Myers Says:

    Is that specimen rusting?

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    Tragically, that’s what happens if you don’t keep your diplodocines greased up. Nobody knew that until the widespread use of petroleum products in the very end of the nineteenth century. By then it was too late for Amphicoelias fragillimus.

  3. Allen Hazen Says:

    Is there something funny about the shape of the first hemal arch?

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    Yes, that first chevron looks like tiny misplaced theropod pubis. More convergence, as with the chasmosaurine Camarasaurus dorsals?

  5. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    Oh, man, if that’s what it is, given the location, I very much don’t want to know how it happened.

  6. Dave Lovelace Says:

    Hmmmm…This looks familiar… hooray for diplodocids! Alas! Alas! Alas! Another
    Diplodocus… butt! it’s always nice to ogle. Too bad there
    is a metal support (understandably) covering the ventral sulchus (or is that ventral
    longitudinal hollow?).

  7. William Miller Says:

    One of my favorite dinosaurs!

    It really *does* look rusty. Wow…

    How big is this specimen? What species of Diplodocus is it (if it’s known).

  8. Nathan Myers Says:

    I wonder what sort of pterosaur budded off of those neural spines. Sadly, we may never know.

  9. William Miller Says:

    Boneless aquatic ones, right?

    (Where did that originate anyway?)

  10. Nathan Myers Says:

    A good question.

    The origins of the boneless aquatic pterosaurs are (like all traces of physical evidence that they ever existed) lost in the mists of time. Known only from sailors’ reports of the Kraken, they were said to dine habitually on whales, sometimes mistaken for giant cephalopods. The devastation of whale populations in recent centuries must have left them without sustenance, and none have been reported in more than a century. Having abandoned osteogenesis sometime early in their history, they left no fossil record, and little definitive can be said about them.

    How a creature whose ancestors reproduced by budding from the neural spines of sauropods (and possibly more basal forms) could have made the transition to free-living aquatic gigantism can only be the topic of spectacularly ill-founded speculation — just how spectacularly has yet to be seen.

  11. William Miller Says:

    Um… Thanks for the information, but I meant where did the idea come from? Are there specimens, or is this based on speculation?

    Also — is the sea serpent a boneless pterosaur? Do you have any opinion on this boot-lace worm as a further reduced (i.e. wingless) pterosaur?

  12. William Miller Says:

    That link is wrong, I meant to point to the article on Lineus longissimus – sorry.

  13. Nathan Myers Says:

    …is this based on speculation?

    Not just any old speculation, but spectacularly ill-founded speculation.

    Do you have any opinion on this boot-lace worm as a further reduced (i.e. wingless) pterosaur?

    Hmm, extreme posterior caudal, I’ll wager.

  14. William Miller Says:

    These revolutionary discoveries need a paper!

  15. Nathan Myers Says:

    In answer to the original question, I think I may first have exposited the topic of boneless aquatic pterosaurs on long-suffering Dave Hone’s original pterosaur blog. The earliest reference Google locates is at

    http://dinobase.gly.bris.ac.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=1059#p1059


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