Proximal caudals of Haplocanthosaurus, from Hatcher (1903)

July 18, 2018

Caudal vertebrae of Haplocanthosaurus priscus (formerly H. utterbacki) CM 879 in right lateral view, from Hatcher (1903: plate 2).

You know how you’ll be doing an image search for some vertebrate fossil and you’ll get a page full of SV-POW! stuff and you’ll think, “Dammit, how is it that those lazy SV-POW!sketeers haven’t gotten around to posting just straight-up scans of the plates from all of the classic sauropod monographs?”

Proximal caudal vertebrae of Haplocanthosaurus priscus CM 572 in right lateral (top), anterior (middle), and posterior (bottom) views, from Hatcher (1903: plate 3).

Well, as of now, we’re working on it. Probably highly irregularly, entirely dependent on what we need for whatever has caught our attention, and with no definite progress markers or endpoint, but still. Here are the proximal caudals of Haplocanthosaurus. Go nuts, future self.


  • Hatcher, J.B. 1903. Osteology of Haplocanthosaurus with description of a new species, and remarks on the probable habits of the Sauropoda and the age and origin of the Atlantosaurus beds; additional remarks on Diplodocus. Memoirs of the Carnegie Museum 2:1-75.

8 Responses to “Proximal caudals of Haplocanthosaurus, from Hatcher (1903)”

  1. Mike Taylor Says:

    Wait — what happened to H. utterbacki?

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    Oh, it got synonymized with H. priscus ages ago.

    Update a few hours later: I don’t know if anyone had addressed it prior to 1988, but McIntosh and Williams (1988) made a pretty persuasive case for sinking H. utterbacki into H. priscus. They wrote, “…the variations observed in the coalescence of the various elements of the sacrum of different individuals showing no other characters worthy of specific differentiation are inadequate grounds for separating H. priscus and H. utterbacki. The fact that the two skeletons were found only a few feet from one another in the same quarry at the same level in the same stratum and are so similar in all other characters adds weight to this conclusion.”

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks. Weirdly, that paper had completely escaped my attention. Now found and downloaded.

  4. Tom Johnson Says:

    There have been suggestions that the holotype of “Morosaurus” agilis (USNM V5384), from the Felch quarry, was possibly a portion of the skull of Haplocanthosaurus priscus. R. T. Bakker sketched a “Haplocanthosaurus” skull in a popular article years ago, but there is also mention of this possibility in Carpenter and Tidwell 1998. The specimen is very nicely photographed on the Smithsonian website ( The consensus seems to be that the skull of Haplocanthosaurus is unknown, so it would be interesting to know the source of the idea that this specimen might, just maybe, could be (but who knows) Haplocanthosaurus.

    Tom Johnson

  5. Tom Johnson Says:

    Addenda re: “Morosaurus” agilis: McIntosh and Williams (1988) address this issue. It was Gilmore (1907) who suggested the possibility, based on the proximity of the specimen to the Haplocanthosaurus type, and the differences of the skull fragment from known sauropod skulls.

  6. Kenneth Carpenter Says:

    Ah, but the type M. agilis is tiny and would fit in your palm. It is way too small to go with any of the Haplo specimens. As Tidwell and I showed, it matches pretty well morphologically the skull of Diplodocus, hence our conclusion that it was a juvenile Dippy skull. .

  7. Matt Wedel Says:

    Whoa, those are nice photos on the Smitty website. Many thanks for the link!

  8. […] (1903) only illustrated this vert in right lateral view, in a drawing by Sydney Prentice (see this post). I showed the vert in left lateral, right lateral, and dorsal views in my 2009 air sac paper […]

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