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Futalognkosaurus recon Mk. VIII

By Paleo-King
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The long awaited 8th version! Multiview hi-fi skeletal, which is a first for any titanosaur. :XD: This will be the last posted version before a final "Forgotten Giants" version.

This multi-view skeletal has already inspired several other restorations, including this superb one by Vladimir Nikolov: t-pekc.deviantart.com/art/Futa… . Earlier versions were the basis for the Royal Ontario Museum's exhibit torontoist.com/2012/02/the-gre… of Futalognkosaurus - though their final skeleton cast ended up being an uncalled-for frankenstein job that is actually more Alamosaurus than Futalognkosaurus.

Corrections since the last version: the entire skeleton overhauled! New photos and data available since last time required a whole new skeletal, with nearly none of the original reconstruction carried over. A number of elements were redone based on Scott Hartman's new skeletal shartman.deviantart.com/art/Bi… , but with additional detail. Whereas Hartman filled in the gaps with basal Malawisaurus material (including the skull), I went straight for the hi-fi jugular and filled the gaps with material from the closest known relatives of Futalognkosaurus - Mendozasaurus, Traukutitan, and Drusilasaura. The skull is a midde-of-the-road speculative morph between Malawisaurus and Antarctosaurus considering the transitional position of Futalognkosaurus. I doubt the skull was a clone of either Malawisaurus or Rapetosaurus (as reconstructed in the new ROM mount). Also included is material from the two referred juvenile specimens of Futalognkosaurus found at the same site at Barreales Lake. The hands and feet are speculative at this point, including the size and shape of the thumb claws.

The majority of the tail has not been found, and was restored after Mendozasaurus and Traukutitan. Since there aren't any good top-view photo sets for lognkosaurian caudals, the dorsal view of the tail is based on two more distant relatives known from far more complete tails - the basal saltasauroids Trigonosaurus and Baurutitan.

Futalognkosaurus dukei (Calvo, et. al. 2007)

Taxonomy: Saurischia; Sauropodomorpha; Sauropoda; Macronaria; Titanosauria; Lognkosauria
Meaning of name: "Great Chief Lizard of Duke Energy Company"
Time: Late Cretaceous (Turonian-Coniacian epochs, ~ 90-87 million years ago)
Length: ~27.3m (90ft), perhaps more depending on maturity
Probable Mass: ~ 60 tons, perhaps more depending on maturity (yes, the holotype animal was smaller and lighter than we once thought... sorry but it's TRUE).

Hailing from Late Cretaceous Argentina, Futalognkosaurus dukei was one of the most massive dinosaurs ever known, with the deepest neck on record and a colossal pelvis exceeding 2m at its widest point. It's also the most complete giant titanosaur known. My skeletal reconstruction is done based on extensive cross-scaling of the best unpublished photos and the most reliable published measurements. Three specimens of Futalognkosaurus were found at the site, which is on the edge of Barreales Lake. Aside from the "adult" holotype, the other two individuals are juveniles. They include arm and leg material which still has yet to be published, including at least one complete humerus: dinoweb.narod.ru/futalongosaur… . As one might expect, most photos of these are small and from awful angles which made measuring and scaling them a nightmare. The femur of one of the referred juveniles (visible in the background of one photo) lewisthelion.com/wp-content/up… shows a close resemblance to Traukutitan: lewisthelion.com/wp-content/up…

The Barreales Lake site is a rare treasure, since it preserves a whole Cretaceous ecosystem, including the giant allosauroid Megaraptor, the true raptor Unenlagia, a couple of undescribed titanosaur species, and plenty of plants, fish, turtles and crocodiles, in addition to Futalognkosaurus itself.

Futalognkosaurus was a member of the family Lognkosauria, a transitional group of titanosaurs with a plethora of strange and extreme skeletal features, including extremely wide dorsal vertebrae and rib cages. They ranged from the small (Malawisaurus) to the colossal (Puertasaurus). Futalognkosaurus, a Late Cretaceous lognkosaur, was one of the larger members of the family, and had the deepest neck of any sauropod with the possible exception of Isisaurus.

Currently this recon shows Futalognkosaurus at 90 ft. (27.3m), rivaling most of the biggest titanosaurs. Nevertheless in terms of overall dimensions it is outclassed by Argentinosaurus and several other giants. Though wide and massive, it was likely a good bit smaller in overall volume than its wide-bodied cousins Puertasaurus and Ruyangosaurus. The 32-34m estimate originally proposed by Jorge Calvo and colleagues is a bit excessive in my view. All the same, anything approaching 100 ft. long and 50 tons is beyond awesome.
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PigsFly1010's avatar

What are the dinosaurs in your forgotten giants series?

Majestic-Colossus's avatar
bricksmashtv's avatar
Are the caudals of Futalognkosaurus procoelus or amphiplatyan?
Paleo-King's avatar
Procoelous. The first caudal of Futalognkosaurus was published and definitely is procoelous (and the ball at the back end is HUGE), I have seen some photos of  mid-caudals that are also procoelous.

This makes sense as other lognkosaurs also have procoelous caudals (i.e. Mendozasaurus, Traukutitan). Even the more basal Malawisaurus has several procoelous caudals.

To my knowledge you don't really find many amphiplatyan caudals in titanosauria more derived than Andesaurus (and Argentinosaurus?). However in rare cases you may get a few in the middle of the tail of a very derived lithostrotian like the Aeolosaurini. But that's because they also have every other type of caudal joint you can imagine (!) and it may be more amphicoelous than amphiplatyan. But these are a few bones out of a tail, the condition was re-evolved in just those few bones... intermediate and derived titanosaurs apparently never have the entire tail as amphiplatyan. You just don't find such things.

BTW, Epachthosaurus, probably the most "intermediate" or "middle of the road" titanosaur we know of, also had strongly procoelous caudals.
bricksmashtv's avatar
Yeah well Epachthosaurus is pretty weird overall, what for all it's basal and advanced characters.

Sidenote: Do the Aeolosaurs constitute their own family (Aeolosauridae) like Dr. Holtz lists in his Supplementary Genus List? I was under the impression that Aeolosauridae were some of the most basal Lithostrotians (unless your one of those people who lump any Titanosaur not Andesaurus into Lithostrotia), probably closer to Trigonosaurids, Bonitasaurids (unless they are a subgroup of Antarctosauridae) and Antarctosaurids (maybe Argyrosaurids and Epachthosaurids as well, but they seem closer to Lognkosauria to me) than to Saltasauroids (Nemegtosauridae, Saltasauridae, Opisthocoelicaudiidae, Isisauridae? (unless they're a subgroup of Saltasaurids, which would be Isisaurinae).
Paleo-King's avatar
I doubt that Aeolosaurs would be basal. I would place them as a subclade of saltasauridae, just like Opisthocoelicaudia, Dongbeititan, and Diamantinasaurus form a subclade within Saltasauridae. They all have similar defining features, with some added twists like tail structure. Aeolosaurini are actually among the most derived titanosaurs. They developed multiple types of tail connections within an individual which were found in no other titanosaurs. Before this, titanosaur tails usually had only one or two types of connections all throughout the tail.

No, I do not lump any titanosaur not Andesaurus into lithostrotia. Andesaurus and Argentinosaurus are probably "Andesauridae". Lognkosaurs as well as their close cousins like Malawisaurus are the next group up, Osteodermata. They have large spike-like studs (some of them at least) but do not appear to have bony nodule scales. Argyrosauridae is also probably in Osteodermata. And I reserve "Lithostrotia" only for derived titanosaurs (i.e. Antarctosauridae and more derived groups like Trigonosauridae, Saltasauridae, Nemegtosauridae). These have flatter studs set in a skin of small hard nodule scales. Literally "lithostrotos" (i.e. paved with pebbles), an odd descriptor word that actually came out of the New Testament of all places.

Lithostrotia is basically a subset of Osteodermata. However not all Osteodermata are Lithostrotia. Epachthosaurus is probably general Osteodermata owing to its retention of some basal features. Also its hips are nowhere near as splayed out as saltasaur hips. Bonitasaura is an antarctosaurid, and Ampelosaurus likely is too. Doesn't need its own family. Lirainosaurus probably also goes into antarctosauridae.

Isisaurinae makes sense so far. Yet another saltasaurid sub-clade. Isisaurus appears to be a saltasaurid by every basic character definition of the group, which actually does NOT imply resembling the body shape of saltasaurus but just its bony details. Isisaurus looks very different from Saltasaurus, but it's basically most of the same features exaggerated in different ways. The sacrum and ilia is very saltasaurid, just the pubes are unusually huge. The neck and dorsals are also saltasaurid judging by the laminae and the connection points, they are just a lot taller than in others of the family. The shoulder blade is essentially a classic Saltasaurus-like blade, it's just situated on top of unusually long arms that are mostly humerus.

This just proves that even within a family there is a lot of proportion variation. After all Atlasaurus looks very different from Giraffatitan yet they are related. Apatosaurus louisae doesn't much resemble Supersaurus but they are related. Futalognkosaurus and Mendozasaurus took radically different paths but they are close relatives. Ligabuesaurus was related to Chubutisaurus and Sauroposeidon, but the neck vertebrae evolved in a completely different direction. And so on. So we should definitely beware of the misleading temptation to restore every saltasaurid exactly like Saltasaurus or Neuquensaurus. There were several that didn't fit that mold, but once you get down to details, their basic nuts and bolts clearly were saltasaurid in origin.
bricksmashtv's avatar
Osteodermata huh? That's way better than the name I had for them (Robustosauromorpha, for obvious reasons). Would Paludititan be considered an Isisaurine or are the similarities just a case of convergent evolution? Family variation is clearly very high. After all, just look at Puertasaurines compared to Futalognkosaurines (jesus that's a mouthful).
Paleo-King's avatar
LOL. Yes, Puertasaurines... lol. I don't know if we have bona fide Puertasaurines other than Puertasaurus... Notocolossus seems like it could go either way. As does Pitekunsaurus. Ruyangosaurus is a possible one... whoever restored its dorsals in China with plaster totally butchered them to make them look more Euhelopodid, thereby destroying most of the anterior dorsal's diapophyses and looking nothing like how the bone appeared in the paper. Drusilasaura is a pretty likely Puertasaurine though. Similar dorsal.


I used to think Paludititan was very similar to Isisaurus but now I see it more as a case of convergence. And the convergence is only in ONE element, the huge pubis. Everything else looks more like Baurutitan and Uberabatitan, which may be basal antarctosaurids... on the other hand Baurutitan's tail looks a lot like that of Alamosaurus as well. And there's nothing in the way of upped body material for Baurutitan to make a good comprison. Either way the neural spines of Paludititan and these others are too upright, and their prezygs too long and cylindrical, to be those of an Isisaurine.
bricksmashtv's avatar
Hmm...so a restoration of Paludititan would do best with an Antarctosaurus-morph skull rather than a Nemegtosaurus-morph skull like Isisaurus would probably have? Interesting about Baurutitan, I kinda just figured it was a regular basal Lithostrotian (than again, Felipe Elias' rather bland skeletal didn't help that much, considering all his Titanosaurs look pretty much the same). Although looking at the paper, I noticed that Uberabatitan was one robust Titanosaur, hence why I assumed a position closer to the base of Robustosauromorpha (yeah, I think I'll just stick with Osteodermata from now on).
Paleo-King's avatar
Uberabatitan may have been robust, but so were many saltasaurs. In fact the more basal osteodermata (i.e. Malawisaurus and the lognkosaurs) are LESS robust overall than saltasaurs, at least as adults. That said, most saltasaurs are so ridiculously robust because their limbs are so squat and short. Whereas they are still long in longkosaurs and antarctosaurs for the most part. The only long-limbed saltasaur I know of is Isisaurus, though there must be others out there.

BTW Antarctosauridae may have a "Jainosauridae" as sister group, which would include not just Jainosaurus itself but also the bizarre Yongjinglong. The main feature of this group is very long shoulder blades (rather unlike Isisaurus and other saltasaurs).
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bLAZZE92's avatar
Here's the abstract I mentioned before. Link
The length from the first cervical to the last sacral is 11.9m (not 13m as I erroneously remembered), this same measurement in your reconstruction is 14.3m, thus, it seems you have it 20% too big, this will bring the weight down to 30 tons, in line with Wedel's and Bates et al. (2015) estimates for the larger Dreadnoughtus specimen, which you acknowledge is comparable in size to Futalognkosaurus.
VigorousNebulaDragon's avatar
May I ask how big is Futalognkosaurus currently regarded? Both the Dreadnoughtus' official weight chart and your size chart in the Dreadnoughtus' blog post have its size pretty much diminutive compare to Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus.
VigorousNebulaDragon's avatar
So how about the length? Pretty much the same to Dreadnoughtus too?
Paleo-King's avatar
I have to revise the mass estimates because they actually are lower than I anticipated. Futalognkosaurus and Dreadnoughtus both should weigh around 50-55 tons. Volume estimates confirm this. That said, even Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus may be overmassed relative to the models.
VigorousNebulaDragon's avatar
So all those 100+ estimates for Puertasaurus is no longer accurate?
Paleo-King's avatar
That's not necessarily true. Based on my own interpretation of Puertasaurus (I just checked a couple of nights ago) assuming similar average density to Giraffatitan, the 110 tons estimate for Puertasaurus should still hold.

The question is, is my own interpretation oversized. It may be by a little bit, but not much. In fact at its current scaling, the mass estimate came out to 125 tons which may be a bit high. Perhaps shortening the tail a bit would help correct for the excess. I've had to do the same with Futalognkosaurus as more data became available.
bLAZZE92's avatar
I think you have it oversized, Calvo et al. (2008) conference abstract "Re-sizing giants: estimation of body length of Futalognkosaurus dukei and implications for giant titanosaurian sauropods" says that the neck to sacral length of the type specimen is 13m, yours is over 14m, Benson et al (2014) also has measurements of humerus and femur that are ascribed to the type specimen, they are 151cm and 194.5cm respectively, about 10% smaller than what you depicted them, just like the vertebral column (excellent cross scaling!).

If we reduce your estimates by 10% it's 26m long and ~50 tons, btw do you perform a GDI on your skeletals?
Paleo-King's avatar
Not yet. I don't have patience for that much calculus! :X  I've always been more of an art person than a math person, but I try to get percentages and scaling as close as possible given the limited information. I just try to get the amount of flesh right and leave the GDI to the mathematicians. So the estimates of mass are rough ones, and we must remember mass fluctuated seasonally based on fat reserves. Of course even without fat reserves this animal looks "fatter" than even some other titanosaurs. I suspect I did the tail too long because of how small the first caudal is relative to the overall body size. This creature was not very tail-heavy by the looks of things. I will be editing that soon.

However I suspect some parts of the spinal column may look smaller due to erosion of the ends, especially the upper neck vertebrae. Furthermore the cartilage in between the bones could easily have added more length within a 1m margin of error.

The humerus and femur are actually not from the type specimen, they are from a smaller individual, so these were roughly scaled up for the holotype as conservatively as I could justify them (the legs are clearly not as long as in more basal titanosauriforms). The type specimen is only known from axial material. two smaller individuals were found at the site which include limb bones and scapula. Most of the remaining gaps were filled based on scaled-up Mendozasaurus limb material. Unlike Scott Hartman I don't consider Malawisaurus to be the best filler material for this beast, due to its more basal position.
theropod1's avatar
GDI is not calculus.
bLAZZE92's avatar
Weird that Benson et al (2014) listed them as belonging to the type specimen, their size relative to the axial length claimed by Calvo et al matched perfectly with your skeletal so I took that as "well they might be from the type after all". Mendozasaurus has come up as sister taxón in several (most?) phylogenetic analysis right?

That third paper can't come son enough!

Have you read SVPOW's guide to GDI? it can be easily done in an excel spreadsheet, is not really complicated just time consuming haha.
Paleo-reptiles's avatar
Remember the (adult) Alamosaurus
[link]
Paleo-reptiles's avatar
Beautiful and perfect!
Paleo-King's avatar
Thanks very much! Well, as close to perfect as anyone has gotten, given that many parts of the skeleton have never been photographed from good angles. :XD:
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