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Puertasaurus reuili

FORGOTTEN GIANTS: Species #1 - Puertasaurus reuili

©2009 Paleo-King

The recently discovered mega-titanosaur Puertasaurus reuili, a giant to dwarf the giants - in high-fidelity TRIPLE axial view, for the very first time!

NOTE: this image is outdated. The corrected, revised version of my Puertasaurus can be found here: [link]

This is the very first high-fidelity reconstruction of Puertasaurus ever done, and was featured on the awesome sauropod blog SV-POW: [link]

This ground-breaking reconstruction also inspired T-PEKC's excellent painting [link] , Teratophoneus's drawing of Puertasaurus [link] , as well as Rexisto's titanosaur silhouettes [link] on


About Puertasaurus:

Taxonomy: Sauropoda; Macronaria; Titanosauria; Lognkosauria

Known only from a lower neck vertebra, a front dorsal, and two as-of-yet unpublished tail vertebrae, this creature was colossal, and could easily have been 130 feet (40m) long, perhaps longer depending on the size of its tail. In that respect, this reconstruction is actually pretty conservative.

Dr. Fernando Novas described and named this king of the titans in 2005, and quickly it became clear that even Argentinosaurus was no match for it in the lineup for "biggest dinosaur".

Puertasaurus is a very late-evolving member of Lognkosauria, a strange family of intermediate titanosaurs with extremely massive vertebrae with massive processes, and super-wide hips and rib cages.

I would even go so far as to say this was probably the widest and most voluminous rib cage of any animal known to science - although the ribs are missing, the huge width of the wing-like diapophyses of the dorsal indicates an unusually wide rib cage, perhaps as wide as 7 meters. When alive, the whole animal probably weighed well over 100 tons.

A particularly odd feature of this species is its unusual neck shape - wider than it is deep, and with very squat centra, this design made possible a downright insane range of vertical motion, even perhaps leaning the head back past vertical, but also likely limited horizontal/lateral neck motion to some degree.

Puertasaurus appeared in Argentina some 69 million years ago, long after the first Lognkosaurians, which date back to the mid-Cretaceous - in fact, it's one of the last sauropods to have lived, and certainly the last of the truly gigantic ones.

As with most dinosaurs known from so few remains, any reconstruction is largely speculative. Still, what you see here is the first truly high-fidelity restoration of Puertasaurus and the only one done from multiple views to really give a sense of the animal's 3D form.

Giganotosaurus (though it lived earlier) is included for scale as it was the largest meat-eater.

Pencil on paper, 11x17" 2009.
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Skriel's avatar
Wide boy, love it!.
Paleo-reptiles's avatar
Brettforsyth's avatar
Dannyp96's avatar
The thing that gets me about this, and don't misinterpret this as dislike because it's a fine drawing, is that it looks like a zombie. The piece excellently illustrates the massive proportions of the animal, but it looks like flesh thinly draped over bones, and makes it come across as unrealistic. I love the work and effort put into portraying the scale, but it looks aesthetically as if museum curator draped a canvas over a skeleton and forgot the muscle and organs.
 I hope this isn't taken the wrong way, because if you were going for something other than life restoration, that's perfectly cool. But as a life restoration paleoart piece that's what seems lacking. Though, fine work nonetheless :)
JonaGold2000's avatar
*Giganotosaurs jump out of bushes attack and kill Puertasaurus* ITS TITANIC 0.1 !!
Giganotosaurinae's avatar
How much was long your Giganotosaurus?
tombola1993's avatar
Wow! That dino is huge!
Paleo-King's avatar
Yes it is. Check out the revised version :[link]
This is a better idea of what it really looked like.
SpinoInWonderland's avatar
Giganotosaurus isn't the largest meat-eater, Spinosaurus is

(but Spinosaurus would make the sauropod seem less majestic as the upper parts of the sail would reach Puertasaurus' tail)
koopalings98's avatar
I agree with you.

PS: Nice work! So it is Puertasaurus the biggest dinosaur?
Paleo-King's avatar
Spinosaurus may be longer, but Giganototsaurus was probably heavier (more massive legs and torso, more volume in the head too). Spinosaurus is a pretty slim animal for its size. All the same, T. rex, Giganotosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus and Spinosaurus all max out around 45 ft. or so. Their sizes have often been overestimated based on pretty fragmentary evidence, and the largest of their specimens can all be reasonably rescaled to about 45 ft. The Jack Horner rumors of a 60-foot Spinosaurus are bunk. The only evidence of a really big Spinosaurus is a single fragment of jaw, which indicates an animal 45-47ft. long at most if you actually bother to scale the thing properly. Keep in mind that skulls got proportionally bigger in theropods as they matured, so the body was not so big relative to the head as has often been depicted. Scaling an adult from fragments using a younger animal to calculate proportions can sometimes give an estimate that's too big. This is known to happen in T. rex, their linear growth leveled off at around 30 years of age. Instead of getting longer, at that point they just got bulkier and gnarlier-looking in the facial bones, the head got really huge and lumpy (super-gnarly mature specimens like Sue and MOR 008 are rare because most rexes didn't even survive that long).

But you're right about the sail, it might hit Puertasaurus' tail. Plus I also figured I'd throw Giganototsaurus in there for comparison because it's South American like Puertasaurus (although it's far older), and its body plan is easier to compare with T. rex than Spinosaurus is.
koopalings98's avatar
No, sorry, I was wrong, I accidentally replied to comment brolyeuphyfusion9500. I wanted to say that I think Spinosaurus was not to 18m, but more like 14m. However, you really Puertasaurus was the largest dinosaur? I knew it was the largest Amphicoelias.
Paleo-King's avatar
Amphicoelias fragillimus has just one problem - it's lost, and there are no photographs. Only a drawing by Cope. And it could be 100% legit but nothing that big has been dug up since then. So we don't have direct fossil proof. And there are a few trackways in other parts of the world that indicate similar-sized animals (like the Plagne tracks or "Parabrontopodus distercii"), but that's "indirect" proof since scaling a sauropod based on footprints is very tricky business. Foot to body size for diplodocids like Amphicoelias can be extreme, as in apatosaurines, or modest as in diplodocus itself. Apart from this variance, there's also the problem that sauropod heels were padded, and expanded as the animal put its foot down. Footprints may make an animal seem bigger than it was.

So Puertasaurus may not be the biggest dinosaur, but it's the biggest that we have fossil bones for right now. Maybe there are bigger species out there (it's pretty much tied with Alamosaurus for the record at the moment), or maybe Puertasaurus is the biggest dinosaur, as big as A. fragillimus or more, but the specimen we have now just isn't the maximum size that it reached. At this point the "biggest" dinosaur is always going to be the biggest specimen known from actual bones or at least peer-reviewed photographs of bones.
SameerPrehistorica's avatar
When i first know about this Sauropod,i was wondering how large it will be.Then oneday i saw this drawing of yours.I was Titatanosaur sauropods dont have that much longer neck ? I was wondering is this is a Titanosaur or not.When i made image of Puertasaurus for me, i made it taller longer by seeing yours.I put a Blue Whale size comparison recently.Let's see what you think about it..
Paleo-King's avatar
It is indeed a titanosaur. And some titanosaurs DID have very long necks. Look at Rapetosaurus: [link]

Huabeisaurus: [link]

Xinghesaurus: [link]

There were all sorts of titanosaurs some of them had long necks like these, others had short necks like Saltasaurus and Bonitasaura: [link]

The thing is, titanosaurs filled many niches, they were the most diverse sauropod group. So there were both long-necked and short-necked forms that fed on different plants. Most of the giant ones had really long necks to reach high into the trees. Futalognkosaurus, a 100-foot (30m) giant, is one good example: [link] and it's actually a pretty close relative of Puertasaurus.

However I hope you realize you are commenting on the old outdated version of my Puertasaurus. I have fixed the proportions since then, and I have a new version posted up: [link] The neck is still very long, but the torso is shorter than before, the tail is longer, and the limbs thicker and more balanced. Please comment on the new version in the future :)
Algoroth's avatar
Wait just a MINUTE!!!!! AHA! I see the conspiracy now! Lognkosaurs! Long-NECK-o-saurs!!!! I see what's going on! As always, your Puertasaurus is awesome....
SameerPrehistorica's avatar
I mailed about this to a paleontologist.He said Puertasaurus neck is not that long.He said don't trust drawings, trust fossils.There is a point.But also i understand that you said -- There were all sorts of titanosaurs some of them had long necks like these, others had short necks.Anyway.. I did saw your new version of Puertasaurus.What can i say,your work always great.:) So did you saw my blue whale size comparison.What you think about it ?
Paleo-King's avatar
Looks pretty cool. The blue whale is huge even compared to many sauropods.

I'm not sure who your paleontologist is, but he IS aware that I went based on the fossils to estimate the Puertasaurus neck, RIGHT?
That's a funny phrase, "don't trust drawings, trust fossils". In fact it's often the drawings that get the neck too short, not too long! Mark Hallett for example drew the neck of Rapetosaurus at only half of its real length! Don't ask me why, I guess he was following stereotypes and not paying attention to the published measurements in the very paper he was illustrating! No offense but your guy is attacking a straw man, I did trust the fossils, the neck length is based on scaling from the preserved cervical (probably the 9th) which was photographed and published in Novas, et. al. 2005.

Puertasaurus' neck IS very long, have you seen the photos of the cervical vertebra? It's HUGE, around 1.2m long, one of the 3 largest necked species known among the neosauropoda (the other two are Supersaurus and Sauroposeidon [link]). And it's much longer than it is deep. And assuming that it is indeed the 9th cervical, and using a standard count of 15 cervicals for most titanosaurs, accounting for length changes among the bones, you end up with a very long neck, one of the longest on record. I always go based on real photographs and real science, whereas most people who draw Puertasaurus with a short neck are just imagining things and not using any measurements (i.e. Gabriel Lio). All of the really huge titanosaurs appear to be high-browsers with very long necks (Alamosaurus, Puertasaurus, Futalognkosaurus, etc.) Even if there was no neck material known from Puertasaurus, you could STILL assume it probably had a very long neck because its close relative Futalognkosaurus [link] also has a very long neck, and it's complete! The lognkosauria in general had long necks.

The only short-necked titanosaurs appear to be saltasaurs and a few other small advanced lithostrotians. These animals filled very different feeding niches than Puertasaurus, and were much smaller and lower to the ground.
SameerPrehistorica's avatar
Thank you.He said that the Blue Whale Comparison i made is good,but 2 things are bothering.It didn't matched the life appearance and so as it's tail.Sure he is right.Well iam no expert in creating these.That is by far a good thing i could do.First i should know what is the body height of a full grown 200 tonne female blue whale under water.When it is placed on land,sure the body height will get reduced.When it is on land itself,i put it's body height to 15 feet in that image which should be wrong.And one thing i know that no one makes a 100% accurate size comparison for any animal.I understand what you said.For me the Sauropods should be Huge :) You can understand that very well from seeing my signature with a bad english.
Paleo-King's avatar
Ok maybe he has a point with the whale... but he's STILL wrong about Puertasaurus. Most of the really huge titanosaurs had very long necks and were high browsers. Alamosaurus, Puertasaurus, etc. all had elongated neck vertebrae.

The largest titanosaur species that's KNOWN to be a ground-feeder is Antarctosaurus wichmannianus, which was around 60-65 ft. long. But since there's practically no neck material known, the length of its neck is impossible to determine, we just know it had a square jaw and a skull similar to those of saltasaurs and other low-feeding (and generally short-necked) titanosaurs like Bonitasaura.
Gogosardina's avatar
Mind-blowing reconstruction. It was great to see the results of your hard work at SVP.

I'd hate to be that Giganotosaurus if the sauropod suddenly decides to drop a turd...
Paleo-King's avatar
Yesssss indeed. Being the biggest predator isn't so hot when you barely come up to this guy's backside. However this version is outdated.

Here is my revised Puertasaurus, you'll want to take a look at this: [link]
Algoroth's avatar
Hello! Got something BIG for you to have a look-see at! [link]

And don't be shy about dropping a comment! They're showing off for you!
Algoroth's avatar

Take a look here. Some interesting finds, especially so for you and Zach. Something about cartilage in one of the articles that might interest you, if you haven't seen it already.
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