Preprint on PeerJ

At the time of writing, this paper is available as PeerJ Preprint, which has not yet been peer-reviewed (I submitted it on the evening that the preprint became available):

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High-resolution figures

Taylor 2015: Figure 1. Spinophorosaurus nigerensis holotype GCP-CV-4229 in situ during excavation in the region of Aderbissinat, Thirozerine Dept., Agadez Region, Republic of Niger. Reproduced from Remes et al. (2009: figure 1).

Taylor 2015: Figure 1. Spinophorosaurus nigerensis holotype GCP-CV-4229 in situ during excavation in the region of Aderbissinat, Thirozerine Dept., Agadez Region, Republic of Niger. Reproduced from Remes et al. (2009: figure 1).

Taylor 2015: Figure 2. Neck of Diplodocus carnegii holotype CM 84, as reconstructed by Hatcher (1901: plate XIII), with fifteen undamaged cervical vertebrae.

Taylor 2015: Figure 2. Neck of Diplodocus carnegii holotype CM 84, as reconstructed by Hatcher (1901: plate XIII), with fifteen undamaged cervical vertebrae.

Taylor 2015: Figure 3. W. H. Reed's diagram of Quarry C near Camp Carnegie on Sheep Creek, in Albany County, Wyoming. The coloured bones belong to CM 84, the holotype of Diplodocus carnegii; other bones belong to other individuals, chiefly of Brontosaurus, Camarasaurus and Stegosaurus. Modified (cropped and coloured) from Hatcher (1901: plate I). Cervical vertebrae are purple (and greatly simplified in outline), dorsals are red, the sacrum is orange, caudals are yellow, limb girdle elements are blue, and limb bones are green.

Taylor 2015: Figure 3. W. H. Reed’s diagram of Quarry C near Camp Carnegie on Sheep Creek, in Albany County, Wyoming. The coloured bones belong to CM 84, the holotype of Diplodocus carnegii; other bones belong to other individuals, chiefly of Brontosaurus, Camarasaurus and Stegosaurus. Modified (cropped and coloured) from Hatcher (1901: plate I). Cervical vertebrae are purple (and greatly simplified in outline), dorsals are red, the sacrum is orange, caudals are yellow, limb girdle elements are blue, and limb bones are green.

Taylor 2015: Figure 4. Three images of presacral vertebra 6 (probably dorsal 7) of Brachiosaurus altithorax holotype FMNH P25107, in right lateral view, showing misleading restoration. Left: Field Museum photograph CSGEO16166, photographer Charles Carpenter, taken in 1905, the year after Riggs's (1904) descriptive monograph. Note the “crazy-paving” effect of the many cracks and missing areas of bone surface. Middle: Illustration of the same vertebra in Riggs (1904: plate LXXII). Note that the damage to the vertebral surface is not depicted. Right: photograph of the same vertebra, taken by the author in 2005. Note that the damage apparent in the 1905 photograph is no longer visible: the vertebra seems to have been painted to conceal its incompleteness.

Taylor 2015: Figure 4. Three images of presacral vertebra 6 (probably dorsal 7) of Brachiosaurus altithorax holotype FMNH P25107, in right lateral view, showing misleading restoration. Left: Field Museum photograph CSGEO16166, photographer Charles Carpenter, taken in 1905, the year after Riggs’s (1904) descriptive monograph. Note the “crazy-paving” effect of the many cracks and missing areas of bone surface. Middle: Illustration of the same vertebra in Riggs (1904: plate LXXII). Note that the damage to the vertebral surface is not depicted. Right: photograph of the same vertebra, taken by the author in 2005. Note that the damage apparent in the 1905 photograph is no longer visible: the vertebra seems to have been painted to conceal its incompleteness.

Taylor 2015: Figure 5. Quarry map of Tendaguru Site S, Tanzania, showing incomplete and jumbled skeletons of Giraffatitan brancai specimens MB.R.2180 (the lectotype, formerly HMN SI) and MB.R.2181 (the paralectotype, formerly HMN SII). Anatomical identifications of SII are underlined. Elements of SI could not be identified with certainty. From Heinrich (1999: figure 16), redrawn from an original field sketch by Werner Janensch.

Taylor 2015: Figure 5. Quarry map of Tendaguru Site S, Tanzania, showing incomplete and jumbled skeletons of Giraffatitan brancai specimens MB.R.2180 (the lectotype, formerly HMN SI) and MB.R.2181 (the paralectotype, formerly HMN SII). Anatomical identifications of SII are underlined. Elements of SI could not be identified with certainty. From Heinrich (1999: figure 16), redrawn from an original field sketch by Werner Janensch.

Taylor 2015: Figure 6. Sequences of cervical vertebrae of extant animals, showing that articular facet shape remains similar along the column. Top. Cervical vertebrae 3–7 of a mature savannah monitor lizard, Varanus exanthematicus, in anterior view. (The cervicals of monitor lizards, unlike those of sauropods and most mammals, are procoelous, with the anterior facet being concave and the posterior convex.) Bottom. cervical vertebrae 2–5 of a mature house-cat, Felis catus, in posterior view. All photographs by the author, of specimens in his personal collection.

Taylor 2015: Figure 6. Sequences of cervical vertebrae of extant animals, showing that articular facet shape remains similar along the column. Top. Cervical vertebrae 3–7 of a mature savannah monitor lizard, Varanus exanthematicus, in anterior view. (The cervicals of monitor lizards, unlike those of sauropods and most mammals, are procoelous, with the anterior facet being concave and the posterior convex.) Bottom. cervical vertebrae 2–5 of a mature house-cat, Felis catus, in posterior view. All photographs by the author, of specimens in his personal collection.

Taylor 2015: Figure 7. Cervical vertebrae of a baby giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis, in posterior view. Top row, left to right: cervicals 7, 6 and 5; bottom row, left to right: cervicals 4, 3 and 2. Despite changes in the vertebrae along the column, the flattened pentagon shape of the articular facets remains similar along the sequence. (Note that extensive cartilage caps existed on the articular facets of this very young specimen, but were lost in preparation.) Photograph by the author, of a specimen in his personal collection.

Taylor 2015: Figure 7. Cervical vertebrae of a baby giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis, in posterior view. Top row, left to right: cervicals 7, 6 and 5; bottom row, left to right: cervicals 4, 3 and 2. Despite changes in the vertebrae along the column, the flattened pentagon shape of the articular facets remains similar along the sequence. (Note that extensive cartilage caps existed on the articular facets of this very young specimen, but were lost in preparation.) Photograph by the author, of a specimen in his personal collection.

Taylor 2015: Figure 8. Cervical vertebrae 4 (left) and 6 (right) of Giraffatitan brancai lectotype MB.R.2180 (previously HMN SI), in posterior view. Note the dramatically different aspect ratios of their cotyles, indicating that extensive and unpredictable crushing has taken place. Photographs by author.

Taylor 2015: Figure 8. Cervical vertebrae 4 (left) and 6 (right) of Giraffatitan brancai lectotype MB.R.2180 (formerly HMN SI), in posterior view. Note the dramatically different aspect ratios of their cotyles, indicating that extensive and unpredictable crushing has taken place. Photographs by the author.

Taylor 2015: Figure 9. Cervical vertebrae 14 (left) and 13 (right) of Diplodocus carnegii holotype CM 84, in posterior view. Note the dramatically different aspect ratios of their cotyles, indicating that extensive and unpredictable crushing has taken place.

Taylor 2015: Figure 9. Cervical vertebrae 14 (left) and 13 (right) of Diplodocus carnegii holotype CM 84, in posterior view. Note the dramatically different aspect ratios of their cotyles, indicating that extensive and unpredictable crushing has taken place.

Taylor 2015: Figure 10. Manipulation of consecutive sauropod vertebrae by hand. Cervicals 2 and 3 of Giraffatitan brancai lectotype MB.R.2181 (formerly HMN SI). I attempted to articulate these two vertebrae, and empirically determine the feasible range of motion. Due to subtle distortion of the zygapophyses of these vertebrae, it was not possible to articulate C2 in a more extended position relative to C3 than shown here. Photograph by Mathew J. Wedel.

Taylor 2015: Figure 10. Manipulation of consecutive sauropod vertebrae by hand. Cervicals 2 and 3 of Giraffatitan brancai lectotype MB.R.2181 (formerly HMN SI). I attempted to articulate these two vertebrae, and empirically determine the feasible range of motion. Due to subtle distortion of the zygapophyses of these vertebrae, it was not possible to articulate C2 in a more extended position relative to C3 than shown here. Photograph by Mathew J. Wedel.

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