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Malawisaurus 2-view skeletal



Malawisaurus dixeyi is one of the most complete titanosaur sauropods described in the scientific literature to date. It is known from skull material (which is a rare case for sauropods in general, not to mention titanosaurs), most of the cervical (neck) vertebrae, all the dorsal (back) vertebrae, all the sacral vertebrae and a large portion of the caudal (tail) vertebrae as well as most of the appendicular elements excluding the ilia, pubis and scapula.

Malawisaurus was rather small (for a sauropod). The projection of its length was about 11.05 meters (that is what the apparent length is from snout to the tip of the tail in the top view of the skeletal). However, along the vertebral series it was about 11.25 meters long. This is in comparison to some titanosaurs which reached over 35 meters in length, and at least one poorly known diplodocid sauropod reached a length of 60-70 meters long. It massed around 2.52-2.59 tonnes, compared to the largest titanosaurs which may have massed up to 100 tonnes and the largest sauropod ever, Amphicoelias fragillimus, probably massed close to 200 tonnes. Malawisaurus is even exceeded in mass by a number of living terrestrial mammal species, as Loxodonta africana (African Bush Elephant), L. cyclotis (African Forest Elephant), Elephas maximus (Asian Elephant), Hippopotamus amphibius (Hippo), Ceratotherium simum (White Rhino), Rhinoceros unicornis (Indian Rhino) all of which have members that well exceed 2,500 kg in mass. The largely aquatic (although they breed, fight and rest on land) species in the genus Mirounga (the elephant seals) also can mass well over 2,500 kg.

As for the illustration itself, the gray bones indicate bones and parts of bones that aren't preserved and so are based off of related species. The white bones indicate preserved bones and the pale yellowish colored bones are bones that are preserved but not figured so their shape is conjectural. Finally, the light blue bones are bones that are from another specimen to help fill in some gaps of knowledge in the caudal series.

Finally, I must apologize to Vladimir Nikolov, to whom I told that this skeletal was not going to be too different from my previous skeletal (which was up at my previous, and now defunct, deviantArt account), as it turns out that this is a bit different proportionally due to better info and drawing techniques. Guess he'll have to do another life restoration (sorry!).

Update: Several things were changed in this skeletal. First, the metacarpal configuration of the forelimb was changed; second, the black outline around the forelimb was changed to reflect a more robust musculature; similarly, the black outline around the lower part of the hindlimb was changed to reflect a more robust musculature; also, the size of the ischium is now larger because it was incorrectly scaled in the earlier version; I also changed the length of the pubis to be more similar proportionally to that of Futalognkosaurus with regards the change of the size of the ischium; finally, the black outline of the belly has been extended and the outline around the anterior to mid-caudals has been extended laterally to reflect new thoughts about the tail musculature in dinosaurs. Also, the mass estimate has been revised downward from 3 tonnes to about 2.5 tonnes (changes have been made in the text above this update to reflect that).

The old version that was here will be uploaded to my gallery's "old version" folder in case anyone wants to compare the previous and current versions.
Image size
8350x3043px 1.08 MB
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Paleo-King's avatar
Quick question, what is the evidence for the existence of a 13th cervical? Scott Hartman only drew 12 of them.