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Supersaurus vivianae

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Supersaurus vivianae

Etymology: Vivian's Super-lizard (Vivian was Jim Jensen's wife).

Family: Diplodocidae (possibly basal Apatosaurinae)
Time: Late Jurassic, Kimmeridgian-Tithonian epochs, ~153-150 mya
Location: Morrison Formation, Brushy Basin member (Utah, Colorado and Wyoming)
Estimated mass: ~40 tons (Adult holotype scapulacoracoid BYU 9025/ referred scapulacoracoid BYU 12962, and referred BYU specimens of similar size).
                          The WDC specimen "Jimbo" was approximately 32 tons.

Finally, a Paleo-King diplodocid!

Supersaurus, the only one of Jim Jensen's giant sauropods to retain its original name and classification, has been restored several times before, but this is the most detailed and fossil-based restoration to date. It turned out to be a bit shorter in length (both the BYU and WDC material) than typically estimated.

This is also probably my favorite diplodocid species, apart from Apatosaurus ajax. I find macronarians much more interesting, but a few diplodocids like these are less "vanilla" than we've been led to believe.

The BYU material from Dry Mesa Quarry originally consisted of two scapulacoracoids, of which the left (the holotype) is far more heavily eroded, a huge cervical vertebra (which is still the largest dinosaur cervical on record), three dorsals (the anteriormost of which was once labeled "Dystylosaurus edwini" and the next of which was once the erroneously assigned holotype of "Ultrasauros" until Jensen realized this bone was diplodocid and did not match his 9-foot brachiosaur shoulder blade), a very tall and worn anterior caudal, and a few distal caudals. More caudals were later referred from Dry Mesa, as well as a pelvis from Thanksgiving Point in Utah. The referred ulna BYU 13744 is 20% larger than expected for the holotype, and may belong to an unusually large specimen of Supersaurus or to another species entirely (Lovelace, et. al., 2007 supports the latter conclusion). I simply scaled it down to the holotype as a referable Supersaurus part until it can be proven conclusively to be something else.

The more complete specimen WDC DMJ-021 "Jimbo" found near Douglas, Wyoming is slightly smaller than the BYU specimens, and its cervical and rib material helps better restore the animal's proportions. 

*Note: For those of you that are wondering, the diplodocine Seismosaurus was indeed of a similar length to these Supersaurus specimens, though slimmer and lighter, and with a more conservative neck/tail ratio as is typical of most diplodocids. Estimates of 130 ft.+ lengths for any of these animals are simply excessive (until a bigger specimen turns up at least). And no, it was not D. longus. There are significant differences.


DISCLAIMER: My Honor is called Loyalty, and my Art is Honorable – therefore I do not take credit for any other artist's skeletal or schematic references used as reference for this image. Nor do I claim them as my own.

This image refers :iconscotthartman:'s skeletal/schematic: www.deviantart.com/art/Somethi… as a VERY general basis. The majority of the bones are drawn based on the published material in Jensen (1985) and Lovelace, et. al. (2007) with some morph de-crushing applied.

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REFERENCES:

Curtice, B., Stadtman, K., and Curtice, L. (1996) "A re-assessment of Ultrasauros macintoshi (Jensen, 1985)." Pp. 87-95 in M. Morales (ed.), The Continental Jurassic: Transactions of the Continental Jurassic Symposium, Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin number 60.

Curtice, B.; Stadtman, K. (2001). "The demise of Dystylosaurus edwini and a revision of Supersaurus vivianae". In McCord, R.D.; Boaz, D. Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists and Southwest Paleontological Symposium - Proceedings 2001. Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin. 8. pp. 33–40.

Foster, J. (2007). "Appendix." Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press. pp. 327-329.

Jensen, James A. (1985). "Three new sauropod dinosaurs from the Upper Jurassic of Colorado." Great Basin Naturalist, 45: 697-709.

Lovelace, David M.; Hartman, Scott A.; Wahl, William R. (2007). "Morphology of a specimen of Supersaurus (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Morrison Formation of Wyoming, and a re-evaluation of diplodocid phylogeny". Arquivos do Museu Nacional. 65 (4): 527–544.
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Comments40
anonymous's avatar
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deinocheirusmaster's avatar
deinocheirusmasterHobbyist Digital Artist
Can I use this as a reference for a drawing please?
SameerPrehistorica's avatar
SameerPrehistoricaProfessional Digital Artist
Supersaurus - Super image.
AakashAC's avatar
AakashACHobbyist General Artist
What is the maximum length of Supersaurus Vivianae ?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
The maximum length known is the length of the holotype individual illustrated here (114 ft.) - unless the ulna (which was scaled down from a creature about 20% larger) was truly Supersaurus... in that case the maximum length known from fossils would have been about 136 ft.

I don't expect they would have gotten substantially bigger than that, since the holotype already has mostly fused scapulacoracoids, meaning it's very close to full-grown.
AakashAC's avatar
AakashACHobbyist General Artist
Thanks for your answer
105697's avatar
May I ask, but why exactly do you think the BYU cervical still belongs to Supersaurus and should not be reassigned to Barosarus?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
It's got an apparently broken neural spine which when complete would have been rather different than those in Barosaurus... also the parapophysis is a different shape than in Barosaurus, and the bone was found in Dry Mesa Quarry with the other initial Jensen Supersaurus material. No verifiable Barosaurus specimens were found there. So it's most likely this was Supersaurus.

Also while this bone does have some features in common with Barosaurus, it has been mangled quite a bit so if you really wanted to, I suppose you could make the case for it being not just Barosaurus, but also an unusually large species of any of several genera of diplodocids: Barosaurus, Diplodocus, Seismosaurus, Galeamopus, the Dana Quarry diplodocid, etc. All of these suffer from either missing neck elements or badly crushed or eroded ones. However none of these has been found in Dry Mesa Quarry and some are not found in the same layers of the Morrison formation. The stratigraphy with Barosaurus may not match Dry Mesa either. If it does then great for the Barosaurus theory... but I don't know of any other "Barosaurus" remains turning up at that locale.

Also lets keep in mind that Supersaurus (including the Jimbo specimen) was initially considered a barosaurine until new research in Lovelace, et. al. (2007) showed it to be an unusual apatosaurine. So Supersaurus overall does converge on Barosaurus in some respects, but that doesn't mean the BYU cervical is Barosaurus, given the general similarities Jimbo's neck also has with Barosaurus.
ElSqiubbonator's avatar
That's not what this article says at all: svpow.com/2016/09/16/how-horri…
Stuchlik's avatar
Do you have some fotos, scans and dimensions "JIMBO" cervicals? Because I can not find anywhere, please send me stuchlik32@onet.eu

Best Regards
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
I don't have anything for Jimbo other than Lovelace et. al., 2007, which should be available online, there is a link in the wikipedia article.
Paleo-reptiles's avatar
Beautiful illustration. I am happy Iran have such smart artist :)
Fragillimus335's avatar
Fragillimus335Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful diplodocid! Another awesome species joins the lineup.
GreekRandomness's avatar
GreekRandomnessHobbyist Artist
Hold on a moment.... Would it not topple over if both legs on one side are lifted at once? Btw can I use this for a sil independent of a project?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
No they would not topple over. The body was capable of balancing. However this stance isn't a 100% "real life" walking stance but the likely upper quartile of flexion range in the lifting limbs. They may have moved the hindlimb forward before lifting the arm like this.

As for using it for your sil, is it commercial or non-commercial in nature?
GreekRandomness's avatar
GreekRandomnessHobbyist Artist
Non-commercial. And I meant from a still position, not a mid-action position. XD
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Ok then that's fine, just use our group's template attribution form like I used to reference Hartman in this image. Include my Avatar and a link to this original image.
GreekRandomness's avatar
GreekRandomnessHobbyist Artist
Erm alright, I'm unsure how to include someone's avatar though, could you help me out?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
highlight, copy and paste.
GreekRandomness's avatar
GreekRandomnessHobbyist Artist
Oh haha I didn't think it was that simple. XD Thanks.
Ornithopsis's avatar
OrnithopsisHobbyist Traditional Artist
The holotype of Diplodocus hallorum (Or Seismosaurus hallorum, depending on your genericometer) and most referred specimens of Diplodocus longus are very similar, though somewhat ironically seem distinct from the somewhat older holotype of D. longus. I assume you mean that D. hallorum is different from AMNH 223 and other iconic D. longus specimens, though--if so, what's your reasoning?

As always, an aesthetically striking and detailed skeletal! Ultimately this won't change much from Hartman's skeletal of the species, though--it seems we've got a pretty good handle on what most diplodocids looked like, which is refreshing considering how spotty the sauropod fossil record is. Do you intend to do skeletals of the more obscure diplodocids such as Tornieria africana and Kaatedocus siberi?
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Tornieria is a possibility, as is A. ajax.

Kaatedocus is begging to be done as a skeletal with all those fine photos but it will have to wait.
thedinorocker's avatar
Hi Nima good work as usual!
do you have pictures of D.longus material?
last time I compare them with Seismosaurus material they appear pretty similar (except some pubis features but they could be taphonomy artifacts), but I have not good (Hi-res) pictures of D.longus so something could be lost
Paleo-King's avatar
Paleo-KingProfessional Traditional Artist
Well the verdict from Tschopp, et. al. is that a lot of what was considered D. longus is actually juvenile Seismosaurus. But was restored and mounted in such a way as to make it look too similar to D. carnagiei (the D. longus holotype is only a few bones but they do have diagnostic differences with Seismosaurus, also some of the referred D. longus material is different from the stuff now considered juvenile Seismosaurus.) Basically the Seimosaurus appearance is with a heavier tail with a kink in it, so the base is directed more upward to compensate, also the rib cage is wider with thicker ribs, and the neck vertebrae lack the extreme retrograde tilt to the neural speins that you see in D. carnegiei and probably was also in D. longus. They look more backswept like a Barosaurus, but of course the neck proportions and other features lake it clear that Seismosaurus is a diplodocine, not a barosaurine.
ElSqiubbonator's avatar
Wait, so Seismosaurus was valid after all? My childhood is saved!
anonymous's avatar
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