Rebbachisaurus description incoming!

February 27, 2014

Sauropod guru Jeff Wilson is on Twitter, as of a couple of weeks ago. In one of his earliest tweets, he showed the world this gorgeous photo of a Rebbachisaurus dorsal:

Jeff Wilson (left) and Ronan Allain (right), with dorsal vertebra of Rebbachisaurus.

Jeff Wilson (left) and Ronan Allain (right), with dorsal vertebra of Rebbachisaurus. Photograph by MNHN photographer, Copyright © Muséum National d’Histoire Natural.

I’m pretty certain this is the dorsal vertebra that’s been on exhibition in Paris for some time, and which is part of the holotype of Rebbachisaurus garasbae, which is in turn the type specimen of Rebbachisaurus and so of Rebbachisauridae as a whole. In which case it’s pretty darned important as defining a major group of sauropods.

This specimen was initially described, very briefly and without illustrations, by Lavocat (1954). The species (though a different specimen) was given a slightly better treatment by Russell (1996), as part of a larger work on isolated dinosaur bones. Russell included some line-drawings of the material (his figures 29-31), of which the pick is definitely this one of the bottom part of a dorsal vertebra:


Rebbachisaurus garasbae, NMC 50844, anterior dorsal vertebra in (a) right lateral, (b) anterior, (c) left lateral and (d) posterior aspect. From Russell (1996:figure 30).

As noted by Russell (p388), this vertebra is similar, but not identical, to the one in Wilson’s photo. Russell says of his specimen that “the greater length of the centrum relative to the height and width of the intercentral articulations and less steeply projecting transverse processes imply that the vertebra occupied a more anterior position in the column.”

Will Rebbachisaurus ever get the detailed treatment that such gorgeous material deserves? Yes! here’s another tweet from Jeff:

Fantastic to think that Rebbachisaurus is in the works, and Nigersaurus to follow! Happy days!


  • Lavocat, R. 1954. Sur les Dinosauriens du continental intercalaire des Kem-Kem de la Daoura. [On the dinosaurs of the Continental Intercalaire of the Kem Kem of the Daoura].Comptes Rendus 19th Intenational Geological Congress 1952 (1):65-68. [English translation]
  • Russell, D.A. (1996). Isolated dinosaur bones from the Middle Cretaceous of the Tafilalt, Morocco. Museum Natl. d’Histoire Nat. (Paris) Bull. Ser. 4 18 (Section C, Nos. 2-3), 349-402.

11 Responses to “Rebbachisaurus description incoming!”

  1. Andrea Cau Says:

    Very good news!!!!

  2. Dean Says:


  3. Hooray! Any news on Jobaria?

  4. I hope that Jeff Wilson wouldn’t mind if I used his photo of a Rebbachisaurus dorsal on my blog for comparative purposes?

  5. Mike Taylor Says:

    My take is that once a photo has been published on social media (as Jeff did on Twitter) then it’s fare game for republication, so long as it’s attributed. The exception would be if someone explicitly says that’s not their expectation.

  6. Fair enough. Thanks, Mike! The copyright issue can be a tough one to handle.

  7. Perhaps I can chalk this up to not thinking far enough ahead when I tweeted that photo, but it should have an attribution to someone other than me. I didn’t think of it at the time … and even if I would have, 140 characters isn’t much to work with. I should have embedded a “©Muséum National d’Histoire Natural” in the photo. That’s where the attribution goes. The photo was taken by the MNHN photographer – it’s shot in the lab where we did all our photographs for the MS. I mentioned this oversight to Ronan Allain, so perhaps he can chime in with his opinion.

    Mike, if you wouldn’t mind adding that attribution to the photograph in this post, I would appreciate it.

  8. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, Jeff: now updated.

    BTW., I like your Twitter handle!

  9. Thanks for making that change, Mike. As for the Twitter handle, it’s good but I really wanted “EPRL” or some other good lamina, but they were already taken…

  10. I think I had put all the proper credits in my post on Histriasaurus.

  11. […] Here we see the much-admire’d dorsal vertebra that’s been on display for some time in the French National History Museum, and which we’ve seen here previously: […]

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