OMNH 1670, a fat shark, the past, and the future

December 20, 2017

I have used this photo in loads of talks, but as far as I can tell, this is the first time I’ve put it up on SV-POW! (I am certain that, having said that, someone will find a previous instance – if so, consider this an extremely inefficient and lazy form of search.) The vert is OMNH 1670, the most complete and nicest dorsal of the giant Oklahoma apatosaurine, probably a D5 or D6. That’s me back in 2004. Photo by my then fellow grad student in the Padian lab, Andrew Lee. I’m 6’2″ and have normally-proportioned human arms, but if you’re trying to figure out the scale, that vert is 135cm tall, with an anterior centrum face 38cm tall by 46cm wide (partly reconstructed but probably accurate). See this post for more details and a fairly exhaustive list of measurements.

Here’s a stupid thing: roughly 2-3 times a year I go to the field or to a museum and get hundreds of SV-POW!-able photos. Then I get back to the world and catch up on all of the work that piled up while I was away. And by the time I’m done with that, whatever motivating spark I had – to get some of those photos posted and talk about the exciting things I figured out – has dissipated.

Case in point – this bitchin’ shark, prepped in ventral view, which I saw last month in the natural history museum in Vienna. Look at that fat, muscular tail – this shark is swole.

That’s dumb. And this blog is in danger of slipping into senescence, and irrelevance.

So here’s my New Year blog resolution for 2018: I’m getting us back to our roots. I, or we – I am taking this plunge without consulting with Mike (surprise, buddy!) – will post a new, never-posted-before photo, at least once a week, for the whole year. It may not always be a sauropod vertebra, but if often will be, because that’s what I have the most of, and the most to yap about. And I will try to write something interesting about each photo, without lapsing into the logorrhea that has too often made this blog too exhausting to contemplate (at least from this side of the keyboard).

Wish me luck!

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10 Responses to “OMNH 1670, a fat shark, the past, and the future”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I hope the logorrhea works itself out! Remember to drink plenty of fluids!

    And good luck with the resolution! I look forward to having admired approximately 55 more sauropodous vertebrae by this time next year!

    And one more exclamation point for good measure!

  2. Andrew Says:

    P.S. Mr. Scientist, or, should I say, Dr. Scientist, how am I supposed to have any idea how big that shark is without any kind of scale? Shoddy work, my friend! 😂

  3. Matt Wedel Says:

    Thanks for the kind words!

    As for the scale, that’s the problem with unpaid labor, the quality control is wildly variable. Why don’t you assume the shark is 157 meters long and see what happens?

  4. Andrew Says:

    I mean, that was what I assumed when I looked at it, but thought it could just as easily be 2 cm.

    Get what you pay for, I guess!

  5. Andrew Stuck Says:

    Yay! Great to hear. Whenever you’re in a slump, just try going back to your roots, in this case a sauropod vert a week! And if you don’t feel like posting an essay with every picture, that’s perfectly okay by us!


  6. […] Matt recently noted, we both have a ton of photos from various expeditions that we’ve never got around to posting […]

  7. Lee Says:

    Had no idea a Cleveland shale Cladoselache was in Vienna! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Matt Wedel Says:

    Lee! Buddy! How’s Cleveland? Great to hear from you. Happy New Year!


  9. […] around the world. We should really post about those things – I had them in mind when I was recently lamenting my lousy conversion rate of museum visit photos into blog posts. That will have to wait for another […]


  10. […] me measuring them – not having posted them yet is one of the things I was whingeing about in the post that kicked off our return-to-weekly-posting thing this year. And second, I owe a belated and […]


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