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So you want to draw Huanghetitanids?

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By Paleo-King   |   
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© 2016 - 2020 Paleo-King
Here is a quick and dirty reference for Huanghetitan as well as the much larger "Huanghetitan". These are mysterious and poorly understood titanosauriforms, somewhat more basal than euhelopodids in evolutionary terms. The family "Huanghetitanidae" was coined by Lu, et. al. (2007) and though Mannion et. al. (2010) found it to be polyphyletic, I still believe it could be a valid family, based on similar sacral morphs once you account for distortion. The extremely well-preserved Dongyangosaurus, which includes complete hips, first caudal, and most of the dorsals, also probably belongs in this family. Its most defining feature is the hugely front-heavy ilia, so I reconstructed hypothetical hips for these two taxa in similar shape. I did both silhouettes the same shape, even though these may be different genera with different body proportions - they are not complete enough to be able to make any conclusions about how their overall shapes differed, and they do appear pretty closely related, without much noticeable difference in cross-scaling proportions.

Yes it's highly speculative. It's also the best huanghetitanid schematic there can be for now, at least until more specimens are formally published. So it's here just to give a rough idea of their likely proportions. Basically they came out looking like a halfway cross between Brachiosaurus and Euhelopus, which is pretty accurate considering where these animals fall on the sauropod family tree.

Given these proportions, H. liujiaxiaensis should have massed around 25 tons, and "H." ruyangensis around 70 tons. Again highly speculative since this assumes they had similar proportions, but there's not much data to work with either way.

As a side note, the anterior tail's small hump and the following steep dip both appear to be natural features in "Huanghetitan" ruyangensis. There was some crushing but I have reduced it. And yes, the sacrum really was that big when complete (only the last five neural spines and last four pairs of sacral ribs were recovered intact, out of six sacrals total, and titanosauriform sacrals were very front-heavy - so in fact this may be a conservative reconstruction). The famed "deepest body cavity" record attributed to "H." ruyangensis is exaggerated. The title is based on the ribs, which though very long, are actually shorter than those of Supersaurus and also the Potter Creek "Brachiosaurus sp." as reconstructed by Jensen - and they're also not unusually long for an animal of such gigantic size.

The dark gray bones are essentially placeholders, not existing fossils. The light gray bones are referable or possible "Huanghetitan" ruyangensis specimens mentioned in Lu, et. al. (2009), some of it heavily reconstructed (though the femur is complete). There is some referable neck material in one specimen, but I could find no good profile photos of any of those bones, so I decided not to attempt to draw them for now. The strangely convoluted and short cervical vertebrae on the highly speculative mounted skeletons of both species may be based on this material (with some of the bones probably being clone-casts of each other), but again hard confirmation of this is simply not available yet. We do know that the referred dorsal vertebra 41HIII-0008 is downright huge, probably from an individual the same size as the holotype, so the neck would probably have been a good bit longer than in the speculative mounts given that some of the upper cervical casts appear to be identical clones of lower cervicals.

Based on Lu, et. al. (2009), new sauropods were found in at least seven different rock layers in the rust-red Mangchuan formation of Ruyang County, including the holotype and referable "H." ruyangensis material, the possible euhelopodid Xianshanosaurus, and potentially several new titanosauriform genera still awaiting description.

I've seen a lot of wrong images of huanghetitanids that don't even look like titanosauriforms, so this is a pretty good basic guide to getting reasonable proportions if you really have an itch to show some love for these rare species and are sick of seeing cheesy diplodocid-clones or camarasaur-clones. Just make sure you ask me first before using this image for reference, and then, link to this image as well as include my name and avatar. Whether the tail had a whip-end like some titanosaurs is uncertain, it may have had a stiff straight end instead so you could draw it either way.

This image has also been credited as inspiration by:
spinoinwonderland.deviantart.c…


REFERENCES:

You, H., Li, D., Zhou, L., and Ji, Q. (2006). "Huanghetitan liujiaxiaensis, a New Sauropod Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Hekou Group of Lanzhou Basin, Gansu Province, China". Geological Review. 52 (5): 668–674.

Lu J., Xu, L., Zhang, X., Hu, W., Wu, Y., Jia, S., and Ji, Q. (2007). "A New Gigantic Sauropod Dinosaur with the Deepest Known Body Cavity from the Cretaceous of Asia". Acta Geologica Sinica. 81 (2): 167.

Lü., J., Xu, L., Jiang, X., Jia, S., Li, M., Yuan, C., Zhang, X. and Ji, Q. (2009). "A preliminary report on the new dinosaurian fauna from the Cretaceous of the Ruyang Basin, Henan Province of central China." Journal of the Paleontological Society of Korea, 25: 43-56.
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Comments40
anonymous's avatar
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cisiopurple's avatar
Hi, Paleo-King, excellent reconstruction!
In your opinion, has dongyangosaurus the same size?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
No, it is smaller than both Huanghetitan species. I've read the paper and the photos indicate an animal slightly smaller than H. liujuaxiaensis - roughly 50ft. long if you draw it with similar neck and tail proportions. The dig team was able to transport the Dongyangosaurus torso and hips back to the lab in one single block, so it's not that big for a sauropod.
cisiopurple's avatar
Thank you very much, excellent clarification :) (Smile) !
Majestic-Colossus's avatar
How wide is Huanghetitan ruyangensis?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Probably almost as wide as the belly is deep. There re only a few photos of the ribs and they aren't from a very good angle. However judging by how Euhelopus was put together, it's a barrel body... similar to how I restored Argentinosaurus. It's wider than brachiosaurs but not a tanker like derived titanosaurs.
Majestic-Colossus's avatar
Thanks. Btw, is Euhelopus in the works?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Euhelopus, Alamosaurus, Janenschia, Phuwiangosaurus... several others have been in the works for a long while... but it will be a slow process as there are many other things going on besides skeletals.

You can help speed it up by commissioning a work or two.
shockaLocKer's avatar
shockaLocKerHobbyist General Artist
I doubt that sauropods raised their neck up that high.

You know. Blood flow.
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Some of them could raise the neck even higher. Blood flow was not a problem. Sauropods did not have very big brains, so they didn't need much blood up there. Also the arteries and veins of long-necked animals like giraffes have a lot more muscle tissue around them than in humans, as well as much more collagen and fibrin. Most current models of sauropod necks require a 1-ton heart to manage a vertical neck for a Giraffatitan with only around 5 beats per minute, and that's definitely within the volume range of the big chests of Giraffatitan and similar-sized sauropods.

A lot of people have doubted vertical necks in sauropods because of "blood flow" but in terms of crunching the raw numbers, none of them can disprove it because they misunderstand the physics behind it. Roger Seymour for example makes assumptions about sauropod neck tissues based on short-necked (and cold-blooded) modern reptiles with thin artery walls, that aren't really relevant. He also does nothing about capillary action and the low-pressure suction state in giraffe necks which makes the blood flow easier. Some others claim that vertical necks would put too much stress on the neck muscles, even though with most sauropods, holding the neck vertically actually means LESS stress across the span of the neck than horizontally, there is less horizontal span over which for gravity to act. Again, a basic misunderstanding of anatomical physics.

The only sauropods for which a horizontal neck posture is likely are diplodocoids and some derived titanosaurs that took over their feeding niches in the Cretaceous. Diplodocoids have shorter arms and low shoulders compared to most sauropods, which makes sense for low-level grazing, as well as relatively high, spheroid-tipped, and even retrograde-tilted neck neural spines (usually bifid to double the number of nuchal tendons to boot). These necks could actually take the strain of long-term horizontal extension on the tendons. Most diplodocoids also have square "vacuum cleaner" mouths for low-level grazing.
shockaLocKer's avatar
shockaLocKerHobbyist General Artist
You make me wish there was a Jurassic Park in real life to see all of this
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
That's all our childhood fantasy. To see the real dinosaurs in the flesh. And I suspect they were much more beautiful than the lumpy dragons Spielberg cooked up.
shockaLocKer's avatar
shockaLocKerHobbyist General Artist
I'm heavily annoyed about how the Pteranodons of Jurassic Park have the strength to lift up an adult person.

And eat human flesh like that.



And the audience think that's realistic.
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Hah that bit was hilarious! Don't forget the Pteranodons sucked in JP3 too. Almost as bad. They had TEETH and opposable toes. The audience has no clue that Pteranodon literally means "toothless wing". And pterosaurs are all flatfooted, they can't grip anything with their toes. In fact that's pretty much the main feature that split their ancestors off from the ancestors of the first dinosaurs. They both have a straight ankle hinge, but very different foot structure. And the way JP portrays them with thick leathery versions of bat-wings attached to the ankle, would make it almost impossible for them to move or land on a flat surface, so of course only with 3d movie magic can it work.

The average pteranodon weighed about 25 pounds. No joke. Maybe 50-60 pounds for the REALLY big ones. And they had very skinny legs, not much surface for muscles to anchor onto. How can this think lift up a 200 pound man? Even funnier is the Dimorphodons (5 pounds) that were swooping up kids and punching holes through helicopters with their beaks. You look at a Dimorphodon skull/beak, it's basically paper-thin struts and huge holes between them. This thing was basically a hollow paper airplane, like a toucan beak. If this animal dives into tempered glass or metal, its beak is BROKEN beyond repair. It's almost pathetic trying to make a movie monster out of real pterosaurs, at least large dinosaurs give you some real bulk and impact resistance to work with.

I mean SOME pterosaurs could really mess you up, like Ornithocheirus or the really big azdarchids - but they are 4-5 times the mass of a Pteranodon, and could only really kill you when they're crawling on the ground and jab their beak into your heart or something. You could still smash their wings to shit with a baseball bat or a pipe, assuming you could get close enough past the super-long head and neck.
shockaLocKer's avatar
shockaLocKerHobbyist General Artist
I was always concerned that the pterosaurs were more inaccurate than the Velociraptors



Maybe we should spread the word or something...
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Be my guest. Just be prepared, the plugged-in antars out there will inevitably call you names, like: paleo-nazis.deviantart.com/
 
Dinopithecus's avatar
I looked at this and I smiled upon being reminded of something.

Some years back on another site, someone entertained the idea of Quetzalcoatlus hunting and killing young Alamosaurus or even sick adults in a swarm. Then he proceeded to say that the idea of "Tyrannosaurus hunting Alamosaurus is worse."
SpinoInWonderland's avatar
Blood flow's a non-issue, their hearts could easily be big enough to pump blood all the way there. The problem is that the models that come up with sauropods needing horizontal necks to get blood to the head use wrong models, as in "weak and small reptilian hearts" models. That chest is easily big enough to support a heart well over a tonne.
mark0731's avatar
I wanted to write that down long ago that your works are very nice, but your foot conversion to meter is usually kind of wrong, I mean, taking this one as an example, 18 m is actually 59.1 ft, not 60 ft, and 30 m is actually 98.4 ft, not 100 ft.
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
The conversions are a bit rough but that is why approximation signs (~) are typically used. There can of course be far more leeway with lengths with specimens such as these where the majority of the bones are missing.
mark0731's avatar
Well, I suggest let's go midway then, not using 59.1 and 98.4 ft or 60 and 100 ft, but 59 and 98 ft.
Jewel-Star's avatar
It's kind of a shame that most of the sauropods never cared for their young. Awesome information!
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
We don't know if they did or didn't. It's not like a couple weeks of care and feeding would ever be likely to leave behind evidence in the fossil record. What we do know is that sauropod babies didn't need much care, their limb bones were well developed and they were ready to run straight out of the egg. They were not sluggish and helpless like theropod or hadrosaur babies, or modern bird hatchlings today. They were born survivalists.
Rowoss's avatar
RowossHobbyist Digital Artist
The longnecks are looking very folicking!!
AntonellisofbBender's avatar
AntonellisofbBenderStudent Filmographer
i like you dino artists and the arts inspire me in my animation skills of making dinosaurs in blender
anonymous's avatar
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