Please welcome Brontomerus mcintoshi

February 23, 2011

Today is the culmination of a project that I and Matt, and our co-author Rich Cifelli, are very proud of: the publication of the new sauropod, Brontomerus mcintoshi. Go and read the paper — it’s open access, thanks to the good folks at Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

Speculative life restoration of the camarasauromorph sauropod Brontomerus mcintoshi from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah. Adult individual (sized according to the referred scapula) protects juvenile (sized according to the holotype ilium) from a Utahraptor: the enlarged femoral protractors may have enabled a powerful kick. By Francisco Gascó. Reproduced with permission. (Taylor et al. 2011:fig. 12)

This project started for Matt many years ago — he first mentioned it to me on 15 May 2004, and we first discussed it in detail in July that year. It’s amazing to realise that very nearly seven years have slipped by since then. But it’s done at last, and Brontomerus mcintoshi is born today!

So, what is Brontomerus, and why should you care? It’s a kick-ass new sauropod — literally — which extends the range of known sauropod morphology and contributes to the growing record of Early Cretaceous sauropod diversity in North America. Plus its name means “thunder-thighs” and sounds kind of like Brontosaurus. What’s not to like?

Skeletal inventory of the camarasauromorph sauropod Brontomerus mcintoshi from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah, in left lateral view. Preserved elements are white, missing elements are reconstructed in gray. After a Camarasaurus grandis reconstruction kindly provided by Scott Hartman. (Taylor et al. 2011:fig. 1)

We know Brontomerus from elements representing about 10% of a skeleton — not much, admittedly, but about 9% more than for Xenoposeidon. Oddly enough, for this blog, the two most informative elements are appendicular: a nearly complete and very weird left ilium, and most of a very nice and rather weird left scapula. We also have a single badly mangled presacral centrum (though even that is interesting), a single gorgeous caudal vertebra, a pair of partial sternal plates, and a bunch of dorsal ribs in various states of repair, of which one, probably the first from the right-hand side, is complete and — you guessed it — weird. (No cervical ribs, though.) There are a few more fragments, but they’re uninformative.

We know that not all this material is from a single animal, because it’s of wildly different sizes: based on the relative sizes of scapula and ilium in Rapetosaurus, we estimated that the animal that contributed the scapula is about three times as long in linear dimension (and so about 3^3 = 27 times as massive) as the much smaller beast that kindly donated its ilium. “But wait!”, you cry: “If the bones are not all from the same individual, what makes you say they’re all from the same taxon?” Patience, young padawan; we will discuss this at length later this week (hereafter PYP;WWDTALLTW).

Because the ilium is the most distinctive of the bones, we nominated it as the holotype. “But wait!”, you cry: “If the ilium is from a juvenile individual, surely it’s not suitable to be the holotype?” PYP;WWDTALLTW.

Left ilium of the camarasauromorph sauropod Brontomerus mcintoshi from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah, type specimen OMNH 66430 in lateral view reconstructed from the three fragments (A), and ventral view (B). (Taylor et al. 2011:fig. 2)

We diagnosed Brontomerus by five autapomorphies of the holotype ilium: preacetabular lobe 55% of total ilium length, longer than in any other sauropod; preacetabular lobe directed anterolaterally at 30° to the sagittal, but straight in dorsal view and vertically oriented; postacetabular lobe reduced to near absence; ischiadic peduncle reduced to very low bulge; ilium proportionally taller than in any other sauropod, 52% as high as long. What does all that mean? PYP;WWDTALLTW. (Wow, that acronym is turning out to be more useful than I expected.) In briefest summary, it’s nothing like any other sauropod ilium I’ve ever seen; and that’s not because it’s from a juvenile.

Brontomerus has had a slightly odd publication history: it was inadvertently published as an “accepted manuscript” on the Acta web-site on 3rd January, whence it was quickly picked up by the Dinosaur Mailing List. In a matter of hours, a Wikipedia article appeared, along with mentions on a surprising number of web-sites: as I write this, four days before publication, Google has 60 hits for “brontomerus” including pages from Germany, Holland, the Czech Republic, Poland and Argentina. But the Acta people were very fast to take down the accepted manuscript once I’d pointed out that the name was being accidentally leaked, and I was able to have the Wikipedia article deleted pretty quickly too. It seems that, against all expectation, the genie was pretty much put back in the bottle.

As if that weren’t enough failage to be going on with, I (Mike) accidentally posted this very article a couple of days before publication.  D’oh!  (WordPress’s Publish button is terribly easy to hit.)  Again, we scrambled to try to limit the damage.  I was able to un-publish the article itself, but by then it had already gone out by RSS, so some of you might have seen this post before in that earlier form.  (This is of course the reason for the I’m Stupid post.)

All the rushing around to shut down premature announcements was, of course, intended to keep the powder dry for today; and we heartily encourage all of you who’ve been wanting to to talk about Brontomerus to do so now!

Back row (L to R): Mike Taylor, Matt Wedel, Rich Cifelli; front row, Brontomerus

There is a lot more that we could say — and will say — about Brontomerus. We have a bunch more posts planned for later in the week, as noted above.  Those of you who can’t wait will of course read the paper, but may also find yummies on the press-pack page or the unofficial online supplementary information.


66 Responses to “Please welcome Brontomerus mcintoshi

  1. Ed Yong Says:

    That image is absolutely priceless. Taekwonodon, anyone?

  2. Nima Says:

    Excellent paper, and an amazing sauropod! BTW is “camarasauromorph” referring to macronarians in general or just the more basal ones? Based on its age and the morphology of the ilium this thing looks a lot more like a titanosaur or basal somphospondylian than a camarasaur (which is also what I took away from the paper…)

  3. Mathew Wedel Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, and good questions. Camarasauromorpha is a slightly more exclusive clade than Macronaria. Macronaria is everything closer to Saltasaurus than to Diplodocus, and Camarasauromorpha is Camarasaurus, Saltasaurus, their MRCA, and all of its descendants. Right now Camarasaurus comes out as the most basal macronarian in most analyses, so in practice Camarasauromorpha and Macronaria have the same content for now. That would change if Haplocanthosaurus or Ferganasaurus or something of that ilk proved to be a macronarian more basal than Camarasaurus (I’m not saying that either one will, but they could).

    We agree that based on both gestalt morphology and age, Brontomerus is more likely a titanosauriform of some description, maybe even a titanosaur. But based on our phylogenetic analysis, a position as a basal camarasauromorph is equally parsimonious with those other outcomes, so we decided to play it safe and put it in the most inclusive bin–Camarasauromorpha–that our current data support.

  4. Tracy Ford Says:

    All that on scrappy material? Jim Kirkland said thier more in the ground that you guys chould have dug up. And I get crap for naming ankylosaurs on thier armor.

  5. Mike Taylor Says:


    Which of the five autapomorphies of the holotype ilium do you find unconvincing?

    We know that Jim has made some comments on Facebook; because that page is only available to his Friends, we don’t feel comfortable commenting on it this public forum. But if Jim would like to repost his comments here (which we’d welcome), we’ll be more than happy to discuss them.

  6. […] new sauropod Brontomerus came out; I’m the lead author on the international team of three.  Read all about it over on my other blog, Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the […]

  7. Mathew Wedel Says:

    All that on scrappy material?

    Ha ha! For Mike and me, this is the most complete dinosaur we’ve ever described! :-)

    There is allegedly more material in the quarry these fossils came from (which is true of many dinosaurs). Or at least there was probably more material in the quarry back in 1994, when the OMNH crew was there and collected what was visible. It’s been 17 years, so anything near the surface back then has been cracked into powder by repeated freeze/thaw cycles. There might be more stuff farther down, or there might not–anyone who claims that there is definitely more stuff there, and that it’s better than what we’ve got, is engaging in prophecy. Hopefully the paper will provide the impetus to go reopen the quarry–that was one of our goals in writing it.

  8. casey Says:

    A sauropod standing on only two limbs, ipsilateral ones at that! gravity gods must be appeased. :). The artwork is great.

  9. Marc Vincent Says:

    Er…might there be a mistake on a couple of the image captions (2nd and 3rd)? Congrats by the way.

    [Well spotted, now fixed. Thanks!–Matt]

  10. Mathew Wedel Says:

    The pose of “Momma” in the life restoration is an exaggeration of an elephant’s step cycle. Check this out. More on the life restoration later this week.

  11. So is the human scale bar Don Draper?

  12. […] lack of astronomy-related blogging lately, that is. Get the full story on the new critter here. The beautiful image above is by my friend Francisco Gasco, and you find another like it and loads […]

  13. Matt Wedel Says:

    “He’s only a baby. We don’t know who he is yet or who he’s going to be. And that is a wonderful thing.”

  14. Bill Parker Says:

    The APP site has BioOne links now and does not appear to be open access anymore…

  15. Andy Says:

    I had no problem accessing – just click on “Full Text” rather than “BioOne Full Text”.

  16. Andrea Cau Says:

    “Kick the Utah-chick!”

  17. Heinrich Mallison Says:


    Several things to note:

    1) Where is the man-walks-dog scale?

    2) Awesome name: no -saurus!

    3) What’s Brachiosaurus in the tree? The usual chimera?

  18. Mike Taylor Says:

    Hi, Heinrich, thanks for the kind words. Man-walks-dog is one interesting scalebar, but we didn’t want to get trapped into always using the same one, which would quickly become as boring as the usual anatomical-normal-position silhouette. Yes, we’re really pleased with the name, and -saurus avoidance was a part of that!

    I’m afraid that, yes, “Brachiosaurus” is indeed the usual chimera in this analysis. That’s because the Brontomerus paper actually predates my brachiosaur revision, but took longer to appear. I promise not to do it again :-)

  19. […] is really just a quick post because all the action is of course going down at SV-POW. Yes there is a new sauropod on the block and the SV-POW boys, or at least Mike Taylor and Matt […]

  20. Dave Godfrey Says:

    From the BBC Website

    “The paleo-scientists speculate that the larger specimen in their possession is the mother of the juvenile.”

    Really? Is this another PYP;WWDTALLTW?

  21. Mike Taylor Says:

    “The paleo-scientists speculate that the larger specimen in their possession is the mother of the juvenile.”

    Really? Is this another PYP;WWDTALLTW?

    Really? Yes, we really speculate. Nothing more than that, I am afraid.

    (I’ve never been called a “paleo-scientist” before. I quite like it.)

  22. Steve McIntosh Says:

    Mike, I had a funny turn when I first read this. Especially as I discovered it was you. I understand it wasn’t after me that you named this, but it was fun anyway. Well done Mike.

  23. David Orr Says:

    How much do you want to bet that when Kirkland’s promised new Utahraptor paper comes out, it will be accompanied by an illustration of one devouring Brontomerus? ;)

    Looking forward to your further posts on this one!

  24. Mike Taylor Says:

    How much do you want to bet that when Kirkland’s promised new Utahraptor paper comes out, it will be accompanied by an illustration of one devouring Brontomerus? ;)

    Bring it on, Utahraptor! Ninja Sauropod could take out half a dozen of your kind without breaking a sweat!

    See also: who would win a fight between Xenoposeidon and Nigersaurus?

  25. Andy Says:

    Not to rain on the parade too much, but isn’t Utahraptor from much lower in the Cedar Mountain (Yellow Cat Member)? I suppose it’s possible that the Ruby Ranch where Brontomerus was collected is temporally equivalent to the Yellow Cat where Utahraptor was collected, but probably not likely. At any rate, maybe it’s best to refer to our unfortunate theropod as a “large dromaeosaur”.

  26. Brian Switek Says:

    Andy: That’s right. Utahraptor is around ~12 million years older, if I recall correctly, and found at the Gastonia quarry in the Yellow Cat Member as well as the Dalton Wells Quarry. I’d love to see some of the additional material from this critter get published (since the last thing I can remember seeing was the 2001 SVP abstract by Britt et al.)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a mid-sized/large deinonychosaur was eventually found in the Ruby Ranch Member, though. You’ve got Utahraptor in the Yellow Cat, and when I visited the BYU Abydosaurus quarry at Dinosaur National Monument two summers ago (which is in the younger Mussentuchit Member of the CMF) the park ranger told us a Deinonychus-like dinosaur had also been found there.

  27. Brian Switek Says:

    D’oh, meant “dromaeosaur” rather than “deinonychosaur” in the above comment.

  28. Teresa White Says:

    When I first started seeing the press links yesterday I knew that I would have to come to SV-POW right away to get the definitive low down! I’m also very grateful that you have open access to your paper and all the supplementary press notes, videos and further information. Well done!

  29. Zach Miller Says:

    Awesome name, and awesome illustration. Congrats, guys! If I have one comments, it’s that I don’t know how…”responsible” is the wrong word…it is to actually portray an animal based on most of a scapula and most of a ilium. You know what I mean? I’m not trying to be negative. It’s just that when I see a skeletal restoration that’s 90%+ shaded grey, that’s what jumps to my mind.

    “Why include a skeletal restoration at all?”

    But I love that Cretaceous sauropod diversity has exploded so much in the last decade or so. Screw you, ornithopods!

  30. Mathew Wedel Says:

    “Why include a skeletal restoration at all?”

    Good question. We did it to show, in an immediately intelligible way, what bones we have. NOT to show what Brontomerus looked like–as you correctly point out, we don’t have enough of the skeleton to do that. That’s why we titled the figure a ‘skeletal inventory’ rather than a ‘skeletal reconstruction’.

    With more complete dinosaurs, one illustration can serve as both an inventory and a reconstruction; I don’t know that I had ever really thought of those as independent functions until pretty recently.

  31. Ian Corfe Says:

    Great paper guys! Spotted this first on the Guardian website (a UK broadsheet paper for those overseas) where they made the horrendous error of stating that “Brontomerus is the latest of several dinosaur finds in the past 20 years that overturn a previously held idea that sauropods died out in the early Cretaceous.” Ouch. Reading through the paper there is no way they could have got that info from their, as you include a really nice section on Early Cretaceous sauropods and diplodocid extinction, but also state these were replaced by macronarian sauropds. Plus it’s right at the end of the paper, and I doubt the journalist got anyway near that far if they even read the paper!

    However, coming over here, and looking at all the lovely press info you’ve provided, I think I spot where that’s come from:

    “Because sauropods were the most abundant dinosaurs found during the Jurassic period and the rarest during the Early Cretaceous, there’s long been the perception that sauropods were successful in the Jurassic and were replaced by duckbills and horned dinosaurs in the Cretaceous,” explained Wedel. “In the past 20 years, however, we are finding more sauropods from the Early Cretaceous period, and the picture is changing.” (From the UCL press sheet).

    … which kinda makes things look like sauropods became extinct in the Cretaceous – they were ‘replaced’ by duckbills and horned dinosaurs. I guess adding all the qualifiers needed to a press sheet to keep things 100% accurate would be a major no-no; or, (tongue in cheek), is this a consequence of a US-centric view of dinosaur diversity where Sauropods are unimportant beyond the Early Cretaceous (and if so why didn’t Mike gently correct it!)?

    Anyway, another lovely sauropod paper, and at least the Guardian actually linked directly to the article itself on APP, something I’ve been on at them for ages to do. Keep the Brontomerus posts coming!

    p.s. there was lots of amusement that a ‘serious scientist’ (a.k.a. Mike) would use the phrase “it may be that males… kicked the crap out of each other”. That doesn’t seem to be in the press release!

  32. Zach Miller Says:

    Ah, gotcha. I see what you mean. Thanks, Matt.

  33. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    I heard Mike Taylor’s interview with CBC Radio’s ‘As It Happens’ on the way home from work tonight, but missed the bit at the beginning so I didn’t know who was speaking about ‘thunderthighs’. When Mike mentioned McIntosh

  34. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    Rats! Hit the wrong button and had a premature posting.

    As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself, when I heard the speaker mention John McIntosh I vaguely remembered having heard of him and that combined with the remarks the speaker made about there being lots of material waiting for someone like him to come a long and study, I was pretty sure it must be one of the SVPOWsketeers talking, and sure enough, when I could listen again on the web, it was.

    Mike, you did an excellent job speaking. Clear, simple and fascinating. Nice to see you getting word out even here in the Colonies.

    I’ve been pleased of late with As It Happens which also recently had Mark Witton on talking about pterosaur ptake-offs.

  35. adam yates Says:

    Bring it on, Utahraptor! Ninja Sauropod could take out half a dozen of your kind without breaking a sweat!

    Well naturally, sauropsids don’t sweat. Smartarse mode off.

  36. Jamie Stearns Says:


    I still remember this cryptic comment that I read in late 2009:

    “with Matt and another co-author, I have another new-sauropod manuscript ready to resubmit after rejection and revisions, which I really ought to get done tonight (except that I am having too much fun with the Archbishop to get excited about doing that rather dull job). That one, too, has — if I say it myself — a name that you are going to like a lot more than a Reallybigosaur name.”

    I presume this is the beastie?

    And the Utahraptor getting kicked to death is a nice contrast to the ridiculous Deinonychus scene in Clash of the Dinosaurs.

  37. Jamie Stearns Says:

    And yes, I think the name Brontomerus is much better than another variation of “Reallybigosaurus”.

  38. Mike Taylor Says:

    Yes, Jamie, it was indeed Brontomerus that I was alluding to back then. Adam, I wondered who would be the first to point out that sauropsids don’t sweat, but never thought you’d be the one to take the bait. MfO, great that you caught that radio segment — I’ll try to find it on the CBC site and add the link to the Brontomerus clearing-house page. Ian, did I really say “kicked the crap out of each other”? I don’t remember saying that, but maybe I did in an off-guard moment. Hmm. Gotta be more careful.

  39. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    Mike, the CBC link is:

    The Brontomerus bit is at about 17:40 into the clip.

  40. Mathew Wedel Says:

    Well naturally, sauropsids don’t sweat. Smartarse mode off.

    I’m contractually obligated to point out that the anatomically accurate version of the original taunt would be, “Ninja Sauropod could take out half a dozen of your kind without breaking an air-sac driven pant!” :-)

  41. Ian Corfe Says:

    Mike – I don’t know if YOU said that, but that’s what was in the Guardians report…I don’t think it’s on the video though, did you speak directly with any journos for quotes?

    Even better, here in Finland a few of the tabloids ran with ‘New sauropod was a predator’! As far as we can tell they messed up translating that Brontomerus could have used a powerful kick as a predator defence, turning it into ‘Brontomerus was a predator’. Congrats on your discovery of the first carnivorous sauropod!

  42. Crimsonraptor Says:

    Congrats to Mike and everyone who worked on Brontomerus. I just read “Taylor” on Wikipedia and headed straight here.

    “Kick-ass” sauropd—priceless!

  43. Jamie Stearns Says:

    @Brian Switek:

    The Abydosaurus Quarry dromaeosaur is actually a Deinonychus.

    Kirkland mentioned this on his website, and Chure confirmed the dinosaur’s identity when I was working at the monument.

  44. William Miller Says:

    Awesome name.

    That is a freaky leg design. I had never imagined sauropods kicking things as a defense (people always seem to emphasize the tail instead), but it makes sense. It seems like it might be a difficult maneuver, though — wouldn’t the front legs have given it a fairly narrow kicking ‘arc’? Unless it kicked out sideways…

    Are all the bones in the bottom picture from Brontomerus? If so, what are the rather eroded-looking fragments between the ribs and the scapula? There are too many for the centra and sternal plates to account for all of them.

  45. Brian Switek Says:

    Thanks, Jamie. While I was there the ranger showed us a body outline with the discovered skeletal elements in it, but didn’t identify just what sort of dromaeosaur it was.

  46. Mike Taylor Says:

    MfO, I can’t get the CBC audio to play for me — I tried it on my Linux PC and my Mac, and on both of them the page you linked just hangs with the spinner to top right going round and round.

    Is there any way you can snag an MP3?

  47. ReBecca Says:

    Posting for Jim Kirkland:

    While, it is possible, that Brontomerus is a new species based solely on the juvenile ilium, there is no way based on the minimal contextual information known of this site, that one can say that all the sauropod material we collected at Hotel Mesa pertains to the same species.

    When, I was first taken to this site in 1994, it had been opened by guys hoping to develop a commercial Morrison dinosaur quarry. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) clearly did not OK this! Another party, who told me he had only advised them to get a permit, subsequently took me out to the site.

    Examining this site, it was obviously in the Cedar Mt. Fm. [] and of great interest to me, but politics being what they were, I could not get a BLM permit in Utah and as I had recognized a fair number of teeth and claws (theropods and crocs) in the site, I thought perhaps it might be a potential microvertebrate site, so I asked Rich Cifelli at the OMNH if he might be interested in the site. Rich put me on his Utah BLM permit and sent out Randy Nydam and I corralled Scott Madsen (then at Dinosaur National Monument (DNM) and we went out to evaluate the site for microvertebrates and salvage the exposed bones. This took us about 1.5 days (camped for two nights). Unfortunately, the matrix would not break down and thus the site could not be screenwashed for microvertebrates, so Rich lost interest in the site. We prepared all the bones in our (Dinamation Intl. Soc.) lab in Fruita, Colorado before sending them on to the OMNH with his crew when they returned to Oklahoma from working their Utah sites at the end of the following summer.

    After, I became Utah’s State Paleontologist in 1999, I expressed interest in reopening the Hotel Mesa Quarry, as this was the only Albian age site in all of eastern Utah, but BLM policy was that all specimens from a given site needed to be reposited at the same repository. Therefore, since Utah paid my salary, it was impossible to justify excavating and preparing a collection of vertebrate materials and sending them to Oklahoma.

    A few years ago, Mike Taylor informed me that he and Matt Wedel felt that there was a new sauropod taxon in the collections from Hotel Mesa. I was excited to learn this, as I figured they would seek to open the site and collect more specimens and data concerning this important locality.

    I was deeply saddened to learn they had described the new sauropod taxa with no regard to establishing a base of contextual data to support its hypodym.

    First there is no evidence to suggest that all the sauropod bones in the site pertain to the same taxon. The Holotype ilium (cute as a bugs ear, I must say, particularly before the shim went through the middle of it, when we flipped the scapula jacket), comes from a much smaller animal that the rest of the reported “hypodym”.

    The nearly equivalent and geographically much closer Price River 2 Quarry preserves more than one sauropod taxon among the many hundreds of sauropod bones collected there. Staff at CEUs Prehistoric Museum pointed out that they had long cervicals similar to Sauropossiden and short stouter cervicals. Their new director Ken Carpenter sent me this picture [] showing two morphs of ilia (at top of figure), one with a short prepubic portion and a stout pubic peduncle and on with a long prepubis and slender pubic peduncle. Thus, the Upper Albian part of Cedar Mt preserves a wealth of sauropods and this taxon promises to add to the general confusion regarding North America’s Early Cretaceous sauropods.

    Also in terms of stratigraphy (and these guys are not completely at fault here, but if asked I would have told them), the Ruby Ranch Member is Albian in age from all our dating. Abydosaurus mcintoshi from DNM is not from the younger Mussentichit Mbr. but the upper Albian (Chure et al.’s 2010, date of ~104 Ma says that) and as stated in … our abstract coming out at GSA this spring and to be submitted as a manuscript long before that, An unconformity (sequence boundary) separates the basal Cenomanian (98-96 Ma) Mussentuchit from the Albian strata below it. Two date, there are no over lapping parts between Brontomerus mcintoshi and Abydosaurus mcintoshi and these two sites may nearly be equivalent.

    The much older upper Barremian to basal Aptian Dalton Wells Quarry low in the Cedar Mt has at least 3 sauropod taxa among the numerous individuals in Brigham Young University’s collection. Remember the Cedar Mountain represents about as much time as the entire Upper Cretaceous.

    Basically, the statement that the juvenile holotype belongs to the same taxon as the handful of adult material in the site is a stretch without some supporting taphonomic documentation (more excavation, as the site keeps going. However, the statement is a falsifiable hypothesis so is a scientific statement that needs testing.

    Now that we are beginning to excavate our own sauropods, which thank god are at the base of the Cedar Mt. Fm., I’m actually beginning to care about the general taxonomic mess that Albian sauropods are in with the number of taxa described without overlapping parts.

    Another observation that I accidentally made was that the reconstruction of the ilium in the paper, differs from that we made in preparing the specimen fresh from the field. These two reconstructions are shown in at the bottom of the picture. We figure this reconstruction from 1995 in Kirkland and Madsen, 2007, Fig. 13E, p. 15). On line at:

    I’m certainly curious what happened between Rich’s OMNH crew’s picking the specimens up and Mike and Matt’s beginning their research on it. Regardless of whatever happened, it is clear the proportions on the Holotype ilium need to be reappraised.

    PLEASE, someone open up this quarry and generate some real information (it is an 8hr drive from Salt Lake City, so I do not have the funds to undertake this). The site is in the Dolores Triangle so the Hotel Mesa Site can only be approached from Colorado, so the Museum of Western Colorado is by far the closest institution to it.

    AND; finally, the site is actually in the Burro Canyon Formation not the Cedar Mountain Formation as the name changes as you cross the Colorado River going east. So the stratigraphic level would be, for the sake of accuracy by best referred to as high in the Ruby Ranch Member of the Burro Canyon Formation. This is how it is show on the recently published 1X100,000 geological map of the area. Geological jargon that is useless to argue with unless you are going to publish the justification of changing the convention.

    Oh and there are many dozens of sauropods waiting to be excavated in the Ceadar Mountain Formation during the “Age of Ankylosaurs.”

    Done spouting off for the minute.

    Jim Kirkland

  48. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, ReBecca, for posting this on Jim’s behalf; and thanks, Jim, for giving permission for it to be posted publicly here. We’ll be responding to the issues raised shortly!

  49. Mathew Wedel Says:


    We’ve known about Jim’s criticisms of the paper for a while now. He started posting them to Facebook back in January. We have a long, detailed response in the works, which we will put up as a separate post soon, hopefully tomorrow or Monday. We don’t want to muzzle anyone, but if you’d like to weigh in you might want to wait until our response is up. Stay tuned.

  50. […] that we have permission to post his messages and respond to them, and his longest critique has been posted as a comment on the initial Brontomerus […]

  51. Mike Taylor Says:

    William, apart from protractors, the other muscles that anchor on the preacetacular blade are abductors, i.e. the muscles that draw the leg laterally away from the torso. So these would have helped Brontomerus to kick anterolaterally rather than directly anteriorly, so it didn’t kick its own forelimbs.

    Yes, all the bones in the photo are thought to be from Brontomerus — at least, they are all from the Hotel Mesa quarry, so bearing in mind the concerns about referral, that’s the null hypothesis. You can see them (and all the material) more clearly in this photo on the Press Pack page. So what are all those indeterminate scraps? They are “small fragments of bone, none of them informative” (Taylor et al. 2011:80) — sorry we can’t do better :-)

  52. […] of  SV-POW!) and Rich Cifelli (the latter two both of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History) have published a paper describing a new taxon, Brontomerus mcintoshi (freely available from their website, or online from […]

  53. William Miller Says:

    OK, thanks.

  54. […] this evening, while I was editing an SV-POW! article that we plan to release on Wednesday, I (Mike) inadvertently hit the Publish button rather than Save Draft as I’d intended.  I […]

  55. […] pointed out to me in the comments to yesterday’s linkblog that I unaccountably failed to link this. As well as commenting here (and on various other blogs by Good People such as Millennium and […]

  56. […] course, the timing wasn’t great for me — Brontomerus day was coming up fast, and the final publicity arrangements were buzzing around like crazy, so it […]

  57. Mr Clearup Says:

    One word: LOL!

  58. […] from everything else out there is reasonable to use as the basis for erecting a new taxon (like Brontomerus and various […]

  59. […] of a few papers with other authors (Taylor, Wedel and Naish 2009 on habitual neck posture; Taylor, Wedel and Cifelli 2011 on Brontomerus; and Taylor, Hone, Wedel and Naish 2011 of sexual selection) but of all the many […]

  60. […] — got around to working on resubmission of a couple of pretty substantial papers.  (One is the description of a new genus; the other is about the anatomy and mechanics of sauropod […]

  61. […] alert that someone going  by the name of Teratophoneus on DeviantArt did rather a nice drawing of Brontomerus, one of the dinosaurs I co-described and […]

  62. […] ten minutes into the talk, I play a video about Brontomerus (“Thunder thighs”). Here is that […]

  63. […] other elements) in the Harris-based phylogenetic matrix that I’ve used repeatedly in other projects. It came out as the sister taxon to the titanosaur Malawisaurus (which in that matrix comes […]

  64. […] on the remains of a sauropod from the Hotel Mesa quarry in the Cedar Mountain Formation. When the paper finally came out four years later (Taylor, Wedel and Cifelli 2007), we named the new dinosaur Brontomerus mcintoshi in Jack’s […]

  65. […] Dave Barry, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the list goes on. Oh, and my best friend is American. So are most of the sauropods that I […]

  66. […] — got around to working on resubmission of a couple of pretty substantial papers.  (One is the description of a new genus; the other is about the anatomy and mechanics of sauropod […]

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