OMNH 2162, probable dorsal 2 of the big apatosaur

May 23, 2017

Anterior view. Dorsal is to the upper right. The neural spine and left transverse process are missing.

Here’s a closeup of the condyle. The outer layer of cortical bone is gone, allowing a glimpse of the pneumatic chambers inside the vert. The erosion of the condyle was probably inflicted post-excavation by relatively unskilled WPA workers, whose prep tools were limited to chisels, penknives, and sandpaper. Because the bones from the Kenton localities are roughly the same color as the matrix, the preparators sometimes did not realize that they were sanding into the bones until the internal structure was revealed. Bad for the completeness of this specimen, but good for pneumaticity junkies like me, because this baby is too big to be scanned by any but the largest industrial CT machines.

For other posts on the giant Oklahoma apatosaur, see:

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13 Responses to “OMNH 2162, probable dorsal 2 of the big apatosaur”

  1. Marco Says:

    Good Morning SVPOW team,
    Can I ask how complete the big Apatosaurus specimen is?
    And is it fully prepared?
    Thank you

  2. Andrew Says:

    How many specimen numbers does she have?!

  3. tigris115 Says:

    So do we know whether it’s Apato or Bronto?

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    Marco – as far as completeness goes, it’s hard to tell, because the super-giant is mixed in with at least one Carnegie/Field/AMNH/Yale-class individual. Limb bones are easy to separate, vertebrae not so much. Definitely from the giant we have some cervicals, most of the dorsals, some caudals, a cervical and a dorsal rib, a partial scapulocoracoid, a distal femur end, and a partial fibula. Possibly more. All of the material was prepped back in the ’30s and ’40s.

    I’m sure you will all be interested to know that Anne Weil is getting good identifiable bits of a larger-than-normal apatosaur out of the Homestead Quarry at Black Mesa, which was only discovered in 2012. So monster apatosaurs seem to have been a thing out there, not just a one-off weirdo from a single hole.

    Andrew – approximately one per element, since almost all of the material was found disarticulated. Looks like the animals fell apart on a floodplain, possibly in a drought, before being buried.

    Tigris115 – we do not, yet, which is why I’ve stopped calling it the ‘giant Oklahoma Apatosaurus‘ in favor of the informal and less committal ‘giant Oklahoma apatosaur’.

    Thanks, all, for your interest!

  5. Marco Says:

    Well is a lot of material!
    Thank you for the reply hope that you will be able to recognize genere and species with a vertebral comparision

  6. Andrew Says:

    Makes sense, Matt!

    I was there when that quarry was found! Lee Bement, an OU geologist who has done a lot of work out in the Panhandle, with a mighty stroke of luck, was walking up the hill and noted that, “When you see this certain white rubble on the ground, the fossiliferous layer in the Morrison shouldn’t be but a couple feet higher… Look! There’s a fossil!”

    I can’t remember if that first bit was part of a sauropod or a turtle or some other indet., but I clearly remember standing right by him as he pointed out the stratigraphy.

  7. Andrew Says:

    Maybe Bement is an archaeologist?

  8. Matt Wedel Says:

    Sauropod and turtle are both good guesses for the Homestead Quarry. To a first approximation, it is a turtle quarry that happens to have some pieces of apatosaur in it. And, yeah, Bement is an archaeologist.

  9. Andrew Stuck Says:

    I think it’s more amusing to simply refer to it as the OK Apatosaur, akin to calling a bruiser for the Mafia “Tiny”. “Eh, it’s just okay.”

  10. Matt Wedel Says:

    I like it! Apatosaur? Eh, just a not-bad-a-saur. An OK not bad a-saur, if you will.

  11. Andrew Says:

    Incidentally, I’d venture that most quarries known for dinosaurs are, in reality, ‘smaller random tetrapod’ quarries that happen to have pieces of dinosaur in them. ‘Smaller random tetrapods,’ however, rarely get the credit.

  12. Mike Taylor Says:

    “OK Apatosaur” chimes with my day-job in programming. We are building an open-source library services platform. At the heart of it is an API gateway for mediates access to modules. On my suggestion, we nominated it as an “OK API”, and so it’s called Okapi.

  13. David Marjanović Says:

    Like BEAUti and the BEAST (Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis Utility, Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis by Sampling Trees).


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