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Puertasaurus reuili - REVISED

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FORGOTTEN GIANTS: Species #1 - Puertasaurus reuili

*Now rescaled and heavily revised with shorter torso and longer tail to reflect more accurately the spinal proportions based on Novas et. al., 2005 and also on related genera* Limbs have been thickened and straightened from the previous version. (The Giganotosaurus is also revised, ironically with a longer torso than before.)

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

This is an update of the very first high-fidelity reconstruction of Puertasaurus ever done - the first version was featured on the awesome sauropod blog SV-POW: svpow.wordpress.com/2009/11/12…
This ground-breaking reconstruction (in its earlier form fav.me/d2m87ao) also inspired Vladimir Nikolov's excellent painting of the animal t-pekc.deviantart.com/art/Puer… , Teratophoneus's drawing, teratophoneus.deviantart.com/a… , as well as Rexisto's titanosaur silhouettes www.mesozoico.com.ar/Forum/vie… on Mesozoico.com and Roy van Hees' 3D walk cycle of the animal on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeV3j8… .

This reconstruction is also the basis of my collaborative work with Chris Masna chrismasna.deviantart.com/ on this phenomenal rendered version: fav.me/d5aewbf
In-progress pics: chrismasna.deviantart.com/art/…

A hypothetical diagram approximating the likely shape and size of the dorsal vertebrae is included - the torso is considerably shorter than in the previous version. Missing portions of the known fossils are also shaded. Giganotosaurus (though it lived earlier) is included for scale as it was the largest meat-eater. The largest predator of Puertasaurus's fauna was Orkoraptor, an allosauroid supposedly similar in size to Giganotosaurus.
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About Puertasaurus:

Taxonomy: Sauropoda; Macronaria; Titanosauria; Lognkosauria
Time & Place: Latest Cretaceous (Maastrichtian epoch, 69 mya - ?), Pari Aike formation, southern Argentina.
Dimensions: ~38m (125 ft.) long, ~110 tons

Known only from a lower neck vertebra, a front dorsal, and two as-of-yet unpublished tail vertebrae, this creature was colossal even compared to other giant titanosaurs. It was even larger than Argentinosaurus paleo-king.deviantart.com/art/… , and so far only Alamosaurus seems to have equaled or exceeded it in size. Puertasaurus is a very late-evolving member of Lognkosauria, a strange family of intermediate titanosaurs with extremely massive vertebrae with massive processes, and short but extremely wide rib cages.

Puertasaurus probably had the widest and most voluminous rib cage of any animal known to science - although the ribs are missing, the huge width and depth of the wing-like transverse processes of the 2nd dorsal indicates they supported an unusually wide rib cage, perhaps as wide as 7.3 meters (24 ft). 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. The head and mouth likely would have been very wide as well.

Puertasaurus appeared in southern 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.

Pencil on paper, 11x17" 2009. Digitally revised, 2010 & 2011

References:
Novas, Fernando E.; Salgado, Leonardo; Calvo, Jorge; and Agnolin, Federico (2005). "Giant titanosaur (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia". Revisto del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, n.s. 7 (1): 37–41.
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