We’re going to the Carnegie Museum!

March 1, 2019

Hot news! Matt and I will be spending the week of 11th-15th March at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh: the home of the world’s two most definitive sauropods!

The Carnegie Diplodocus, CM 84, is the original from which all those Diplodocus mounts around the globe were taken, and so by far the most-seen sauropod in the world — almost certainly the most-seen dinosaur of any kind.

Diplodocus carnegii mounted holotype specimen CM 84 at the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh. Photo by Scott Robert Anselmo, CC By-SA. From Wikimedia.

Like most dinosaur-loving Brits, I grew up with this specimen, in the form of the cast that until recently graced the central hall of the Natural History Museum in London. It defined my concept of what a sauropod is. But I’ve never seen the original before, and I am stoked about it.

Also like most Brits — and American dinophiles often find this hard to believe — I never saw an Apatosaurus skeleton, or indeed any Apatosaurus material, when I was growing up, or even for several years after I started functioning as a palaeontologist. We just don’t have the material over here, so when I saw the mounted Brontosaurus holotype at the Yale Peabody Museum in 2009, it was a big moment for me.

But now, for the first time, I am going to see the definitive apatosaurine specimen, the Apatosaurus louisae holotype CM 3018!

Apatosaurus louisae mounted holotype specimen CM 3018 at the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh. Photo by Tadek Kurpaski, CC By. From Wikimedia.

(And I know this is not exactly a new observation here on SV-POW!, but: check out that neck! it’s insane!)

And of course the two big, glamorous mounted sauropods are only the tip of the iceberg. The Carnegie Museum has a ton of awesome material in collection, including Hatcher’s Haplocanthosaurus specimens, the much-loved juvenile apatosaurine cervical sequence CM 555, the Barosaurus cervical sequence CM 1198, and much much more.

We are going to be drowning in sauropods!

I’ll have more to say about this trip shortly, but I just want to close today’s post by saying two things:

First: those of you familiar with the collections at the Carnegie, what are the things that Matt and I should definitely not miss? What will we kick ourselves if we come come without having seen?

And finally: a big thank you to my wife, Fiona, who is finishing up a masters in March and definitely doesn’t need me to be out of the country and unable to help for a week of that final month. She is a marvel, and is sending me anyway.


15 Responses to “We’re going to the Carnegie Museum!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    There’s a Marshosaurus skull located near the tail of…the Apatosaurus, I believe. Rare skull of a really weird theropod, and it really gives you an appreciation for what this thing looks like.

    There’s also the famous juvenile Camarasaurus that everyone shows when they want to show Camarasaurus (I think it’s the original, not sure). It really hits home how the specimen most people think of when they think of Camarasaurus is actually a juvenile individual.

    Also Anzu. The originals (though the ones on display are probably casts).

    The holotype of T. rex should be there as well. It’s kind of a “been there, seen that” thing, though.

  2. David Hone Says:

    Don’t miss the two rexes (though you couldn’t miss them if you tried) and the juvenile Ceratosaurus and the little section on the Western Interiro Seaway is excellent. If you’ve not done many American museums, check out the insanely good section of taxidermied mammals.

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, anonymous, of course the baby Cam has to be on the list! (We did get to spend some quality time with a good cast of it at BYU a few years ago, though, so while it will be good to see the real thing, it won’t be a totally new experience.)

    Dave, much as we affect contempt for everything in the paraphyletic grade of non-sauropods, I had to admit tyrannosaurs are every bit as cool as their reputation, and we will for sure be getting some quality tyrannosaur time in while we’re there.

  4. Bette Garmon Says:

    Hello ! While you’re in Pittsburgh, I wanted to know if you would like to do a book signing/ talk on your book? You can reach me at crm2367@bn.com

  5. Andrew Stuck Says:

    Not quite Sauropodocalypse Part 2, but pretty close! Part 1.5?

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    That’s exactly how we’re thinking of it, Andrew!

  7. Matt Wedel Says:

    Thanks, Bette, I am most interested. Email sent!

  8. […] noted in the last post, Matt and I are off to spend a week at the Carnegie Museum from 11th-15th March. We expect to see […]

  9. […] store in Pittsburgh got in touch and asked if I’d give a short talk and do a book signing while I’m in town. That will be this coming Sunday, March 10, at 1:00 PM, in the children’s section at that […]

  10. Jens Kosch Says:

    I might b a bit focused on those allusive sauropod heads because I studied them when I was in Pittsburgh, but I suggest to see [I try to skip the ones mentioned allready by others):
    – CM 11161, the skull put on all the “Dippy”-mounts (Tschopp et al. 2015 say its some diplodocine, not necessarily Diplodocus)
    – CM 11255 o a very nice juvenile dipodocine head
    – CM 3452, a possible Diplodocus head that I think is nicer than CM 11161. It is in the exhibition, so it is much more difficult to study in detail
    – CM 11162, the head assigned to CM 3018. It has some interesting damage on the right side revealing replacement teeth and you can see the crazy change in angle from replacement tooth position to functional teeth.

    For coolness I agree on seeing Anzu. They also have nice 3D Xiphactinus.
    There also was a huge collection of larger Cenozoic mounted stinking mammals they were working on to re-open the room/hall they were in when I was there in summer 2017. It should be open by now, I think. It lies leftish to the Cretacous tract.

  11. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, Jens, this is really helpful!

  12. Amy Acquafondata Says:

    I was so busy looking at the fighting tyrannies I forgot to look up and see the giant pterosaur. I also loved the wall of fishes, and the cenozoic mammals, although the oreodont I think was inside where the kids dig in the sand so you can’t see it so good. They have a lot in a small space. I liked the phytosaur a lot.

  13. Mike Taylor Says:

    We were in the public galleries today. Loved the moment when you’re looking at the two rexes, then glance up and go HOLY CRAP LOOK AT THAT!.

  14. […] (Matt’s photo, taken in the public gallery of the Carnegie Museum.) […]

  15. […] playing with the cervical vertebrae of a subadult apatosaur, and trying to make sense of those of the mounted adult, neck ontogeny is much on our minds. Here’s an example from the less charismatic half of […]

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