A combination image of most of the known brachiosaur species found in the British Isles (all from England so far). I made this a couple years ago and refined it a few times, I figure it's time to show it off since it can't really get more accurate than this (since with such incomplete specimens, "accuracy" of skeletal art isn't really quantifiable past a certain point). As you can see, there aren't a whole lot of good remains of these animals, which may be due to the climate affecting the exposed fossil strata. It seems that the Isle of Wight, the homeland of the majority of England's sauropods, was dominated by brachiosaurs in the Early Cretaceous. They are mostly small or midsized animals for their lineage, but this does not rule out the presence of bigger species or individuals. The fragmentary nature of the fossils and the lack of any shoulder material means these specimens (aside from the clearly juvenile Bothriospondylus suffosus
and the not-so-gigantic Chondrosteosaurus gigas
with their unfused neural sutures) may still be at most only subadult animals.
In terms of quality of preservation (which, for most sauropods found in England, leaves a lot to be desired), the "nicest" of these animals is Eucamerotus
, although only two vertebrae are in tip-top shape. They clearly indicate a deep-bodied brachiosaur similar to Giraffatitan
but with more robust neural spines which lack the backswept angle found in Giraffatitan
. The proportions of the missing parts (i.e. 95% of the skeleton in most of these animals!) were reconstructed after Brachiosaurus
and other brachiosaurs I have restored. All the species shown here are called by the most recent revisions of their names (which themselves have a very long and convoluted history of being recycled, passed around, and brought back from the dead) but I have decided to stick with the old BMNH catalog numbers for the sake of consistency with the older literature. The British Museum's needless and chronic name-changes to the "NHM" and then the "NHMUK", and now to who knows what (hence changing catalog letters and possibly even some specimen numbers), really makes me angry
.All the confusion with specimen codes and all the money wasted on new labels, databases and stationary. Not that this makes BYU's specimen number-shuffles look any better
The larger and more complete "Barnes High brachiosaur" could not be accurately illustrated as it is in private hands and the issue of ownership remains complex - there are no good photos to go on. The Isle of Wight giant "Angloposeidon
", which is also probably a good deal larger than any of these animals, is now thought to be a basal somphospondylian (probably something similar to Chubutisaurus
) rather than a brachiosaur. An undescribed ilium, sacrum, and limb material found on the Isle of Wight appear to have bsal somphospondylian features and may also belong to this animal.References:Barrett, Paul M., Roger B.J. Benson and Paul Upchurch (2010). "Dinosaurs of Dorset: Part II, the sauropod dinosaurs (Saurischia, Sauropoda) with additional comments on the theropods". Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society 131: 113–126.
Blows, William T. 1995. The Early Cretaceous brachiosaurid dinosaurs Ornithopsis
from the Isle of Wight, England. Palaeontology
38 (1): 187-197.Hulke, J. W. 1879. "Note (3rd) on (Eucamerotus, Hulke) Ornithopsis, H. G. Seeley, = Bothriospondylus magnus, Owen, = Chondrosteosaurus magnus, Owen". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 35: 752–762.Hulke, J. W. 1874. "Note on a very Large Saurian Limb-bone adapted for Progression upon Land, from the Kimmeridge Clay of Weymouth, Dorset". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 30: 16–17.Melville, A.G., 1849, "Notes on the vertebral column of Iguanodon", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 139: 285–300Owen, R., 1842, "Report on British Fossil reptiles, Pt. II". Reports of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 11: 60–204Owen, R., 1875, "A monograph on the Fossil Reptilia of the Mesozoic Formations. Monograph on the Genus Bothriospondylus", Palaeontographical Society, 29: 15-26
Owen, R. (1876). "Monograph on the fossil Reptilia of the Wealden and Purbeck Formations. Supplement 7. Crocodilia (Poikilopleuron) and Dinosauria? (Chondrosteosaurus)." Palaeontographical Society Monographs, 30: 1-7.
Seeley, H.G., 1870, "Ornithopsis, a gigantic animal of the Pterodacyle kind from the Wealden", Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 4th series 4(5): 305-318