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Lusotitan atalaiensis hi-fi skeletal

Lusotitan atalaiensis

Etymology: Lusitanian (Portuguese) lizard from Atalaia
Family: Brachiosauridae (intermediate position)
Time: Late Jurassic, Kimmeridgian-Tithonian epochs, ~150 mya
Location: Lourinhã, Portugal

*Now HEAVILY revised and re-scaled based on Mannion, et. al. 2013*


Lusotitan atalaiensis, the Portuguese brachiosaur, formerly classified as a species of Brachiosaurus.

Actually there is at least one other Portuguese brachiosaur known……, but it's a good deal smaller and known from a complete arm, whereas Lusotitan is known from no complete body segments.

Lusotitan is a large brachiosaur, though this most recent revision shows it's not the supergiant once thought - at least not the sole individual known, which was not full grown. It's slightly smaller than the teenage Giraffatitan HMN SII.  Its tibiae are more robust and expanded at both ends than those of Giraffatitan. However, its tail is significantly larger, which may reflect a different defense strategy. Although the humeri are incomplete, their proximal portions indicate bones of huge size, even by typical brachiosaur proportions. As the biggest animal in the Lourinhã formation, Lusotitan would have truly been an imposing presence on the the floodplains of Late Jurassic Europe. Maximum size, as with Giraffatitan, is unknown, but may have been around 15-20% bigger than the type specimen.

This is the first ever detailed skeletal of Lusotitan compiled from data based on the actual fossil remains. Speculative portions are restored after Giraffatitan, with some modifications based on various European brachiosaur taxa (head, neck, dorsals, etc.). Some of these taxa are highly confused, such as the case of Ornithopsis eucamerotus/Eucamerotus foxi/Bothriospondylus magnus. Generally these European forms have dorsal neural spines more vertical than in Giraffatitan and more slender than in Brachiosaurus, so it may be inferred that Lusotitan had a similar morphology.


A.F. de Lapparent & G. Zbyszewski, 1957, "Les dinosauriens du Portugal", Mémoires des Services Géologiques du Portugal, nouvelle série 2: 1-63

Antunes, Miguel; Mateus, Octavio (2003). "Dinosaurs of Portugal". Comptes Rendus Palevol 2 (1): 77–95.

Mannion, P. D., Upchurch P., Barnes R. N., & Mateus O. (2013). "Osteology of the Late Jurassic Portuguese sauropod dinosaur Lusotitan atalaiensis (Macronaria) and the evolutionary history of basal titanosauriforms." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 1-109.
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BitterSpiny's avatar
Hello Mr. Sassani, may I use your Lusotitan skeletal reconstruction as a referrence for my Wikipedia restoration?
Paleo-King's avatar
Sure, just give me the credit for the original and add a link to me.
BitterSpiny's avatar
Thank you very much!
bricksmashtv's avatar
I´ve decided to start making life restorations based on yours and Scott Hartman´s skeletals, here´s my…
If possible, I would love some critique on it.
Thanks again!
Paleo-King's avatar
Interesting... I didn't know Scott did a Lusotitan skeletal. Where is it?
bricksmashtv's avatar
No, I meant I´m doing life restorations based on skeletals by both you AND Scott Hartman :D (Big Grin) . Unless he´s got one coming up we don´t know about. Probably won´t matter anyway, since I find your neck posture for Brachiosaurs and Mamenchisaurs a lot more believable than his for a more habitual pose (S-curve vs 45-degrees).
Still though, whatcha think about it?
Paleo-King's avatar
Interesting... although my Lusotitan skull is based on Europasaurus and Brachiosaurus, not Giraffatitan. I don't really see how any of it looks like Giraffatitan.
bricksmashtv's avatar
My bad, I see now. I´ll correct that.
ShadowoftheEast's avatar
Nice reflexion and input on it! I love your reconstructions.

Does that mean an adult Lusotitan could had reached 25 meters? If if it was around 15% than the holotype?
Paleo-King's avatar
Possibly. The holotype is not full grown and it's already huge.
ShadowoftheEast's avatar
Seems like giant macronarians were widespread in the world. 
Megalotitan's avatar
Paleo-King's avatar
Very interesting. I have been working on ways to categorize titanosauriforms based on all parts of the skeleton, never knew about anyone doing it with sternal plates though. That's a lot of sternals! I will definitely read this paper several times.
Megalotitan's avatar
Could it be referred to Lusotitan?
Megalotitan's avatar
Would be Lusotitan phylogenetically closer to Giraffatitan or to Brachiosaurus?
Those neural spines look more similar to Giraffatitan, but you gave it a Brachiosaurus (like-) head.....
Paleo-King's avatar
Actually I gave it more of a Europasaurus-like head. It's not as long as a Brachiosaurus head.  I think Lusotitan is probably a little bit closer to Giraffatitan phylogenetically, but I suspect European brachiosaurs in general had a few different lineages which were independent of both Brachiosaurus' and Giraffatitan's subclades. Also Lusotitan appears to be more primitive than the brachiosaurs in England, so that's another reason I went with more of a Europasaurus-like head, as it's also a fairly basal brachiosaur.
Evoblast99's avatar
I think the other smaller portuguese brachiosaur is now called Zby atlanticus, and turned out to be a turiasaur:…
bricksmashtv's avatar
Actually it´s different, first, only the arm is known from the Lourinhá Brachiosaur, and two, you can tell it´s different because the scapula of Zby is incomplete, unlike the Lourinhá Brachiosaur´s. Unfortunately the LB remains undescribed.
Evoblast99's avatar
Oh.. That's confusing.
Well, thanks for correcting me!
bricksmashtv's avatar
SameerPrehistorica's avatar
It's weird that the body length is shorter.What is it's weight ?
Fragillimus335's avatar
That's one compact body!
Paleo-King's avatar
Yes, it's a lot more compact that I had expected. There's only one dorsal centrum known, but it's a very short one, and brachiosaurs generally don't show radical changes in dorsal centrum length the way titanosaurs sometimes do. The excellent scale photos in Manntion et. al. (2013) basically forced me to take a second look at Lusotitan and it turned out I'd gotten nearly everything wrong with the previous version of the skeletal. It's smaller, more compact, but with a bigger tail. The proportions now are all based on the paper (before this, there really were no good photos of the material available so the first version of the skeletal was very speculative anyway).
DiNoDrAwEr's avatar
What is the estimated total length of an adult Lusotitan?
In your description you mentioned this to be the reconstruction of a subadult specimen... ;)
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