The shape of things to come

28 09 2007

I was hoping to have my sauropod post finished this afternoon, but much like the giants themselves over the course of evolution, it just keeps getting bigger. A post that I initially intended to be about juvenile specimens that had been found has turned into a larger discussion of behavior, physiology, and other matters dealing with how the animals lived, and I’m hoping that I can present an interesting and accurate end-product soon. Until then, however, here’s a picture of a juvenile Barosaurus mount from the AMNH;

Juvenile Barosaurus

It’s a little blurry (sorry) but the differences between it and adult sauropods are striking, and there is just so much to talk about that I should probably stop myself before I spoil too much of the upcoming work.

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2 responses

28 09 2007
Zach Miller

Hmmm…that juvenile Diplodocus (or is it an Apatosaurus?) that was recently found looks NOTHING like this little guy, so I’m wondering how accurate the Barosaurus juvenile is. No teeth? Beak-like snout? Shallow mandible? The baby…diplodocoid…looks like a miniature adult.

Eh. It was also found long AFTER the famous Barosaurus mount was constructed, so you can’t blame them for not knowing. I’ll bet they were extrapolating based on what baby ornithischians look like by comparison to their parents.

Anyway, your upcoming sauropod post excited me. Those lumbering beasts don’t get the attention they so often deserve, especially when they were so amazingly diverse!

28 09 2007
laelaps

I’ll have to look into how much material was found Zach; I’m guessing that the skull is mostly conjectural. I haven’t seen the recent “Baby Toni” paper (I’ve been trying to get it), but I do know that South American titanosaurid embryos had teeth, and a lot of teeth in fact. They had teeth in the premaxilla and maxilla going all the way back to just after the beginnings of the antorbital opening, one of the skulls being associated with 32 tiny teeth. Perhaps this Barosaurus mount was modeled after the idea (I forget the reference off the top of my head) that some sauropods were toothless until they got older, which doesn’t make much sense to me (and, as you noted, seems to be refuted by fossil evidence).

The post won’t be a survey of all sauropods, but I hope to cover a bit of recent research about them and how they might have lived, including the idea of dwarfing on islands. Alas, I have said too much…

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