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palaeozoologist's avatar

Nemegtosaurus skull

This is a reconstruction of the skull of Nemegtosaurus mongoliensis based primarily on the original description of Aleksander Nowinski, but supplemented by the re-description by Jeffrey A. Wilson as well as the description of the new nemegtosaurid Tapuiasaurus. My interpretation is a bit different than portrayed by these authors.

The grayed-out parts of the skull indicate material that was not preserved.


Nowinski, A. 1971. Nemegtosaurus mongoliensis n. gen., n. sp., (Sauropoda) from the uppermost Cretaceous of Mongolia. Palaeontologica Polonica 25: 57–81.

Wilson JA (2005) Redescription of the Mongolian sauropod Nemegtosaurus mongoliensis Nowinski (Dinosauria: Saurischia) and comments on Late Cretaceous sauropod diversity. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 3: 283–318.

Hussam Zaher, Diego Pol, Alberto B. Carvalho, Paulo M. Nascimento, Claudio Riccomini, Peter Larson, Rubén Juarez-Valieri, Ricardo Pires-Domingues, Nelson Jorge da Silva Jr., Diógenes de Almeida Campos (2011). "A Complete Skull of an Early Cretaceous Sauropod and the Evolution of Advanced Titanosaurians". PLoS ONE 6 (2): e16663. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016663
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Algoroth's avatar
This is a question, not a critique: do you think sauropods had cheeks at all? Your reconstruction seems to show them. Since that would be an important thing to try and get correct in a painting, I'd like to know your thoughts.

And was the lower jaw so undershot as you've shown? Just asking; I've no way of knowing, since nemegtosaurs aren't sold in my grocery store...
palaeozoologist's avatar
I suppose it depends on what you mean by "cheeks", if you count a thin piece of elastic tissue covering part of the jaw as seen in this condor here, then yes. Do I think they had mammal style cheeks or even ornithischian style cheeks? Probably not. They don't have any anatomical correlates that would suggest cheeks IMO.

As for the lower jaw, it comes directly from the description. So yes, it is undershot.
Paleo-King's avatar
This is actually one of the best Nemegtosaurus skull restorations I've seen. The size of the bony nares looks a lot more reasonable than the huge ones in Salgado, 1997. The other new restorations are also not quite as accurate as this one. The jaws are dislocated though... the rear of the lower jaw needs to be tilted higher, so there's a bit less height to the rear of the head overall.
palaeozoologist's avatar
Thanks. I'm not sure it's one of the best restorations of Nemegtosaurus out there, but I'll take the compliment anyways ;)

I actually kinda like Salgado and Calvo's (1997) reconstruction, I forgot about that one though when I was doing this. The narial arch is arched too much though, probably, and their infratemporal fenestra isn't quite the right shape. I think their Quaesitosaurus restoration is not very good, on the other hand.

I agree that I should change the lower jaw, but it'll have to wait a bit...
Paleo-King's avatar
I think Salgado and Calvo's versions were just awful. It's like as soon as the field recognized that titanosaurs were related to brachiosaurs, they jumped the gun and tried to make two very derived lithostrotians resemble brachiosaurs so much as to be nearly indistinguishable from them, to overcompensate for decades of diplodocid-like restorations. Not pausing to think that perhaps in so many millions of years, they wouldn't necessarily look like brachiosaurs anymore, and may have even converged on diplodocids in some respects since those niches were left wide open for the most part. Which we now know they did thanks to complete skulls for Rapetosaurus and Tapuiasaurus.

Quaesitosaurus has a notoriously difficult head to restore, but out of the few attempts I've seen, I'd say Wayne Barlowe's version tops them all. I really wish that guy painted more dinosaurs.
palaeozoologist's avatar
Well, neither Rapetosaurus or Tapuiasaurus are known from complete skulls, both are missing most or all of the nasals, and Rapetosaurus is missing it's premaxillae, so we don't even really know that it looked as much like a diplodocid in the skull as often thought.
Paleo-King's avatar
They're complete enough that you can get the idea. :XD:
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