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EoFauna's avatar

Pitekunsaurus macayai

Restoration of the small titanosaur Pitekunsaurus macayai, kindly made for Leonardo S. Filippi, co-author of the paper describing the species.

Reconstrucción del pequeño titanosaurio Pitekunsaurus macayai, especialmente realizado para Leonardo S. Filippi, co-autor del articulo descriptivo de la especie.

Authors: Asier Larramendi & Rubén Molina
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Do you have Futalognkosaurus measumerents or Puertasaurus caudal measumerents?

Paleo-King's avatar
Very nice skeletal but there are a few issues...

Not sure if there's any basis for the hump-back near the hips. The posterior dorsals are not known. As far as titanosaurs go, Pitekunsaurus appears to be a longkosaur based on comparison of the vertebrae and proportions, so it was likely a "brachiosaur-mimic" appearance-wise, not a diplodocid-mimic saltasaur the way you drew it here. Also even saltasaurs had relatively level backs, not a hump near the hips like dipldocids. Femur's distal portion was probably shorter than here as well.

Of course being so incomplete there are a lot of gaps in our knowledge of this animal, but all of the fossil evidence points to something a bit more Puertasaurus-like or Malawisaurus-like in appearance.
EoFauna's avatar
Hi Paleo-King,

    Thanks for your comments. Well, first it should be clarified that Pitekunsaurus is not a longkosaur but Aeolosaurini (Coria et al 2013). About the hump, you may be right although the extremely long femur (it was restored very conservatively) respect to the forelimb might reproduced that "hump" and makes hard to support a "brachiosaur-mimic" appearance. This reconstruction was made before the discovery of Overosaurus so it can be improved although its morphology was probably more similar to Rinconsaurus. 
Paleo-King's avatar
Coria defined it as Aeolosaurini, but I don't agree since the caudal material doesn't appear to support this, in fact it's more in agreement with a lognkosaurian affinity, the anterior caudal looks like a Malawisaurus one. The extreme retrograde tilt in Aeolosaurini is totally absent here, as is the extreme elongation of the prezygapophyses like antennas that are a defining feature of aeolosaurini.

Comparing the dorsal and cervical vertebrae with all known titanosaurs, the closest correlation is with Puertasaurus and Futalognkosaurus in all aspects - centrum, neural spine, diapophyses, the compression of the anterior dorsals, the lack of bifid spines like opisthocoelicaudia or extreme backsweep of the neural spines as in "regular" saltasaurs and aeolosaurini. The femur head is the same way, similar to lognkosauria especially Futalognkosaurus in the high placement of the lateral bulge. It does not have the extreme deflection of the shaft sideways as in derived lithostrotia.

BTW Coria has been incorrect a few times before (most notably about putting Epachthosaurus in Andesauridae in the 1993 Argentinosaurus description paper). Epachthosaurus is quite a bit more derived than Andesaurus, in fact despite the hypantrum, it is likely even more derived than Lognkosauria. Given the fact that theories about relationships in titanosauria often change, the association of two such clearly different animals separated by so many characters would make aeolosaurini paraphyletic, much like Bonaparte and Coria's original definition of Andesauridae was paraphyletic.

With femur proportions, you could be right about the difficulty of brachiosaur mimicry. But that doesn't necessarily negate lognkosaurian affinity. Mendozasaurus is a longkosaur which doesn't "mimic" brachiosaurs and had shorter arms and probably a more horizontal neck posture.
EoFauna's avatar
We have to admit that your idea is likely, in fact due to the poor material preserved in Titanosaurs many dinosaur may "jump" from one family to other in the next future with more new research. Moreover, Overosaurus preserved material may show quite different overall morphology comparing to Pitekunsaurus but the later basicranium is similar to Jainosaurus.
ropen7789's avatar
so irresistible to ride like a horse
TheArchosaurQueen's avatar
Cool. A shame we have so little of it though. Oh well, we could always have less, but that would suck :/.
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