My collection of sauropod-themed mugs (or at least five sixths of it)

June 4, 2017

Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite a few sauropod-themed mugs, most of them designed by myself and relating to papers that I’ve been involved with. Here are most of them (plus a bonus):

From left to right (and in chronological order):

  1. The Sauroposeidon mug that Matt made back in 2000 or so.
  2. The first one I created myself: an Archbishop mug, showing the posterior dorsal vertebra pair D?8-9 — foolishly, in monochrome.
  3. Xenoposeidon, of course, created in celebration of its publication.
  4. The whole of my dissertation, printed very very small.
  5. The introductory here’s-what-sauropod-necks-are-like illustration from our 2011 paper on why those necks were not sexually selected.

Not pictured: the Brontomerus mug. I made three of these: one each for the three authors of the paper. I’m not sure where mine has gone — I don’t think I’ve seen it for a long time. (If Matt still has his, maybe he can add a photo to this post.)

(Bonus: on the right hand side, the world’s only DRINK TEA YOU MORONS mug. I made it as a gift for my son Matthew, who is a huge fan of Bob The Angry Flower (as am I). It’s based on this this strip.)

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9 Responses to “My collection of sauropod-themed mugs (or at least five sixths of it)”

  1. Dale mcinnes Says:

    Just a side note here. I’m curious as to why Paul thinks Sauroposeidon and Giraffititan are the same mass. I take it that the former isn’t simply a scaled up version of the latter ??

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    Does he? Reference, please!

  3. Dale mcinnes Says:

    I believe it’s in his Field Guide. I’ll have to dig it up.

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    I suspect that Paul’s estimates come from comparing the Sauroposeidon holotype to the XV2 specimen of Giraffatitan. Which was a juggernaut, and probably equaled Sauroposeidon in size – if S. was a brachiosaurid. As I wrote way back in 2009 (in this post):

    “Maybe the most interesting thing about this is that, so far as we can tell, XV2 was almost exactly the same size as the holotype individual of Sauroposeidon. So anything I or anyone else has written about Sauroposeidon being bigger, absolutely, than Brachiosaurus, is bobbins.”

    BUT we know now that Sauroposeidon was almost certainly not a scaled-up vanilla brachiosaur, and that should make it heavier. Brachiosaurids are freakishly skinny for such big animals – not only do they have apomorphically slender limb bones, their vertebrae are also pretty slim, even compared to other large sauropods.

    Now, every phylogenetic analysis since 2012 has pegged Sauroposeidon as either a non-titanosaur somphospondyl (most) or as an andesauroid titanosaurian (a few permutations of Mannion et al. 2013, IIRC), whether the coding is based on the holotype alone or also includes Paluxysaurus. So most of the assumptions about Sauroposeidon from my old papers are out the window. If it wasn’t Brachiosaurus: The Next Generation, then it may not have been particularly slender, there’s no very good reason to think it only had 13 cervicals, and so on.

    The real problem is that the holotype of Sauroposeidon is so incomplete that it admits many possibilities, most of which can’t be ruled out right now, even if we fold in Paluxysaurus – the serial positions of the cervicals from the Paluxysaurus bonebed are not known, so it’s hard to know how the neck scaled compared to the rest of the animal. We need more fossils. Unfortunately, the Antlers Formation is heavily forested and has low relief, so although the fossils are undoubtedly out there, they’re not exactly pouring out of the ground. So we wait, and hope.

  5. Mike Taylor Says:

    Interesting stuff, Matt. The kind of thing that should perhaps appear in a conference talk some time.

    An important point that I am sure has occurred to you:

    the serial positions of the cervicals from the Paluxysaurus bonebed are not known

    Neither are those of the Sauroposeidon holotype. Back when is seemed to be a brachiosaur close to Giraffatitan, you assessed its serial position based on the “transition point” between low and high neural spines. But if it’s not a brachiosaur, that already less-than-watertight method loses all its value. A C5-C8 could be (say) C7-C10, or — more excitingly — C3-C6. (OK, that is reaching a bit.)

  6. Abyssal Says:

    What do you guys think of the “new” sauropod nuchal ligament paper by Woodruff?

  7. Mike Taylor Says:

    I’ve not read that one. I know I ought to, but so much else is happening. All I will say at this point is that I am sceptical about anything that relies on extant analogues of diplodocids’ bifid neural spines, because there aren’t any.


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