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Puertasaurus reuili - REVISED

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:…
This ground-breaking reconstruction (in its earlier form also inspired Vladimir Nikolov's excellent painting of the animal… , Teratophoneus's drawing,… , as well as Rexisto's titanosaur silhouettes… on and Roy van Hees' 3D walk cycle of the animal on youtube:… .

This reconstruction is also the basis of my collaborative work with Chris Masna on this phenomenal rendered version:
In-progress pics:…

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.

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Known only from a lower neck vertebra, a front dorsal, and two as-of-yet unpublished tail vertebrae, this creature was colossal even compared to other giant titanosaurs.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… , 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

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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PigsFly1010's avatar

Orkoraptor? That thing is 13 METERS long?! You mentioned it rivals Giganotosaurus. That is probably not true. Orkoraptor was more in the seven meter one tonne range, making it NO MATCH for P. Reulli. Also, I disagree with this. Its waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too bulky. Sure, its proportions might rival Argentinosaurus, but, P. Reulli is probably in the Patagotitan range. Not much over 65 tonnes. Argentinosaurus was probably around 75, and Patagotitan 60.

SameerPrehistorica's avatar
Recently i read this -- (In 2016, Gregory S. Paul estimated a length of 30 meters (98 feet) and a weight of at least 50 metric tons (55 short tons).[12] A 2017 by the paleontologist José Carballido and colleagues study estimated its mass at roughly 60 metric tons (66 short tons), which was lighter than Patagotitan, a more complete giant sauropod.)

Comparing it's vertebra size, i guess it's highly unlikely that the whole animal weighed only 50 tonnes.

Vertebra is only slighty longer than 24 m Futalognkosaurus vertebra

mark0731's avatar
Will you update this one? I remember you wrote once that you think Hartman's version is undersized, and I wrote that maybe you're right, but I still doubt it was bigger than 35 metres, and you wrote you agree. So, will you update it with a size reduction of 3 metres or more someday?
Paleo-King's avatar
This titanosaur needs a revision, but I would have to restore the other giant lognkosaurs to make sure the proportions are as close as possible. We have new species that have been discovered since the last revision of this image.
mark0731's avatar
You mean Dreadnoughtus, I believe.
Paleo-King's avatar
Dreadnoughts, Notocolossus, the Chubut Monster (possibly a longkosaur), maybe a few others.
Because of playing the game "The Isle" I've learned about this titanosaur (though the Puerta model in the game just looks like a very large generic sauropod) in any case it made me want to learn about it. Thank you for this! It's helped me sketch better Puertas during college classes xD
mark0731's avatar
I've seen that this one is proportionally fatter than the previous version. Is this an error made by squeezing the previous version of Puertasaurus or it isn't?
Paleo-King's avatar
It's not an error per se because Puertasaurus is so incomplete that there will inevitably be guesswork involved. It is fatter i.e. wider in its limbs because the previous version was too slim there. I did a lot of comparison to other lognkosaurians to arrive at the thicker proportions as more were discovered in the past few years. The first version (2008) was highly speculative and was missing comparative data in a lot of body parts since at that time the only other known lognkosaurs were Malawisaurus, Mendozasaurus, and Futalognkosaurus. And there wasn't a lot of info on any of them beyond the papers.
grisador's avatar
Amazing Work !

Its even more exciting to learn this animal might have spikes :O
Paleo-King's avatar
Spikes? Is there a paper detailing that theory? I've heard it before but never seen it written about in any detail.
grisador's avatar
Yep; giant armored sauropods ! Poor theropods :o
SpinoInWonderland's avatar
There's not a single paper suggesting it. But there are two papers that, when taken together, suggests it.

Longkosaurs are lithostrotians based on the Notocolossus paper, and lithostrotians had bulb-and-root armor according to Vidal et al.(2014) and applying phylogenetic bracketing.

Bernardo et al., 2016, "A gigantic new dinosaur from Argentina and the evolution of the sauropod hind foot"
Vidal, 2014, "Titanosaur Osteoderms from the Upper Cretaceous of Lo Hueco (Spain) and Their Implications on the Armor of Laurasian Titanosaurs"
SilverWolf866's avatar
I was wondering if you will be doing the Utahraptor? If not, then do you know of any good anatomy references and studies like these. I've looked online, but I can only seem to find ones depicting the side view and not the frontal view.
Paleo-King's avatar
I think Scott Hartman did a Utahraptor skeletal a while ago.
SilverWolf866's avatar
Oh ok! Thank you!
MAD-KNIGHT's avatar
Just a few very specific questions on Puertasaurus, it its fine.

1. How is its whole name, Puertasaurus reuili, pronounced? 

2. How tall was it, from foot to shoulder? How tall was it, from foot to head, when its neck is positioned horizontally like most titanosaur postures? How tall was it, from foot to head, when its neck is raised up at its highest? 

3. Could its neck bend far down to do low browsing? How much could its neck turn from side to side?

Thank you for your time in reading these questions. 
Paleo-King's avatar
1. Puerta-saurus (as in Puerto Rico, but with an "a") ray-oo-ee-lee

2. I don't memorize those measurements, because (1) this is a very incomplete animal so by nature there's a lot of guesswork involved in this restoration, I have had to use related animals to fill in the HUGE gaps. And because (2) I have so many sauropod skeletals there's no time to memorize the exact dimentions of various sections of each individual (and there can be margin or error sometimes even with the more complete ones due to various theories about how much cartilage they had, etc.... if you really want measurements, use the scale bars I provided, and a ruler, and a calculator. Measure the ratio of 1m on the image to 1cm on your ruler, use that ration in the calc to multiply and convert the number of cm you measure the distance into scale bars which represent 1m.

2b) "Most" titanosaurs did NOT have horizontal necks. Only some saltasaurus and antarctosaurs appear to have had horizontal necks. The vast majority of titanosaurs are not limited to these two groups. Most titanosaurs in fact seemed to follow a vertical or at least diagonal neck slope in standard posture, like brachiosaurs, mamenchisaurs, etc. they were high-browsers. The minority of titanosaur species that were low-grazers and horizontal, were Late Cretaceous forms basically filling in the niches left behind by extinct diplodocids. But there were plenty of vertical necked titanosaurs in the Later Cretaceous as well.

3. Puertasaurus appears to have had a LOT of vertical up-and-down flexibility to the neck because the vertebrae (especially the ball/socket joints) are so squat and flattened (most of it NOT due to crushing of the fossil). So it could low-browse if it wanted to. However I suspect this oddly squat neck cross-section was more of a specialization for high browsing and even bending its neck back past vertical, to eat leaves that were normally behind its head (yes, crazy, I know, but that's what it seems built for). In any case, sideways movement would have been more limited than vertical motion, due to the squat neck shape. How much, I don't know. But probably around 30 degrees to either side would be a good guess. Diplodocids and many other sauropods could manage more sideways bend.
Jeda45's avatar
There's some new evidence that the Pari Aike rocks could be as old as the Cenomanian, not Maastrichtian at all. A tuff layer from the Pari Aike formation--which is now considered to be part of the Mata Amarilla formation--has been dated to around 97 million years ago. 

Orkoraptor is a megaraptoran, and thus is likely to be either an allosauroid or tyrannosauroid, but the problem's not yet resolved. The largest known megaraptorans or megaraptoran relatives are around 10-11 meters and 4 tonnes, Orkoraptor was probably only around 6 meters and half a tonne.
Paleo-King's avatar
Not knowing what exact spot in the Pari Aike formation Puertasaurus was found in, it's hard to tell its age until Novas et. al. release more info.

As for Orkoraptor... we have much the same problem with regards to lack of evidence.  I'm not too familiar with the notion of Magaraptorids being tyrannosauroids, but on the face of it I don't see that as being very likely.
Jeda45's avatar
I agree that it's not clear that megaraptorans are tyrannosauroids, but recently-discovered new material of Megaraptor itself is remarkably tyrannosauroid-like. Past studies on megaraptorans often didn't adequately compare them to coelurosaurs, assuming a priori that they were likely to be "carnosaurs".

Even though we don't know where in the Pari Aike Formation Puertasaurus was discovered, this paper seems fairly confident that none of the Pari Aike Formation was Campanian-age or younger, so an age within 97-83 Ma is most likely.
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