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Andesaurus delgadoi - revised by Paleo-King Andesaurus delgadoi - revised by Paleo-King
FORGOTTEN GIANTS: species #3 - Andesaurus delgadoi

*Now revised with more accurate speculative sacrals, new tail data from Mannion and Calvo (2011) and re-scaled.* The previous version was far too big at 30m (100ft.), a bogus figure which has been published many times over in commercial dinosaur books. Based on a careful re-analysis of the fossil measurements, Andesaurus was probably only 61ft. (18.5m) long, at least for the type (and currently only) specimen. The only way this animal could be longer is if it had a crazy-long neck for its size (which isn't out of the ballpark if you consider Phuwiangosaurus, which was almost a titanosaur...) However due to lack of shoulder material, the maturity of the type specimen is unknown, and it's possible this creature might have grown a lot bigger.

This restoration is also the basis of an amazing new 3D model by MrGorsh fav.me/d4yyhje which shows how even relatively slender titanosaurs could be bulky.

Location: El Chocón, Argentina (Río Limay Formation)
Time: Albian-Cenomanian epochs (transition from Early to Late Cretaceous)
Length: 61ft. (18.5m), perhaps more depending on maturity and neck proportions
Probable mass: ~20 tons
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The midsize basal titanosaur Andesaurus delgadoi, fully restored in hi-fi profile and frontal views for the FIRST TIME ever. The skeletal art is also the first ever done for this species.

Andesaurus was described in 1991, but since then very little research has been done on it. It's the founding member of the family Andesauridae, one of the most primitive families of titanosaurs - yet despite being the namesake of the dubious family that once contained its famed contemporary Argentinosaurus, it's obscure and still not well-understood. It was long-bodied, with tall neural spines on its back (which was probably close to horizontal) and very robust hips. It's not an extreme design for a titanosaur - its elegance lies in its subtlety. This animal was the forerunner of all subsequent titanosaur body designs. It's classed as the most primitve true titanosaur in most scientific papers and cladistic analyses, though that distinction likely belongs to a much earlier animal, perhaps Janenschia.

Despite being only a medium-sized sauropod, Andesaurus has often been labeled in books and on websites as a colossus verging on 30m long. In reality, the bones indicate a far smaller animal, and are dwarfed by those of real 100+ footers like Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus.

Missing bones whose shapes can be reasonably well-approximated are shaded, I did not figure speculative neck bones since we literally have no clue what they would have looked like. Skeletal and accompanying diagrams of specific vertebrae are based on photographs of the fossils and on scale diagrams in Salgado et. al. 1997 and Mannion and Calvo, 2011.

References:

Calvo, J.O. & Bonaparte, J.F. 1991. Andesaurus delgadoi nov. gen. et nov. sp. (Saurischia, Sauropoda) a titanosaurid dinosaur from the Río Limay Formation (Albian-Cenomanian), Neuquén, Argentina.] Ameghiniana. 28: 303-310. [In Spanish]

Mannion, P.D. & Calvo, J.O. 2011. Anatomy of the basal titanosaur (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) Andesaurus delgadoi from the mid-Cretaceous (Albian–early Cenomanian) Río Limay Formation, Neuquén Province, Argentina: implications for titanosaur systematics. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10…
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:icontarbosaurusbatar:
TarbosaurusBatar Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Does the family 'Anesauridae' have a new name?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
No. Andesauridae is still Andesauridae. And it should be a valid family. All we are missing is more described species. Andesurus is clearly NOT a euhelopodid or acrofornican, but it's definitely not a lognkosaur or a lithostrotian either. So Andesauridae - whatever else it ends up containing - is a valid family at the base of titanosauria. It's possible there are more andesaurids lying in a museum vault somewhere still packed in plaster.
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:icontarbosaurusbatar:
TarbosaurusBatar Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you.
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:iconninjamonkey38:
NinjaMonkey38 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Odd, considering "delgado" is Spanish for "thin", and this was a sauropod. XD
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, it's named after a guy with the last name Delgado who apparently helped discover it.

That said, it IS pretty thin as far as titanosaurs go (most are basically walking whales). The basal ones were generally on the more slender side, and Andesaurus was not very huge among those.
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:iconninjamonkey38:
NinjaMonkey38 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Walking whales... Pretty much the best way to describe the Futalognkosaurids, like Argentinosaurus. XD
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Nope, Argentinosaurus is NOT a lognkosaurian. It's a more basal form, similar to Andesaurus. And if you look closely at my reconstruction, it's more slender than Futalognkosaurus, Puertasaurus, etc. The vertebrae were the classic cross-shaped type common in basal titanosaurs, not the wide double-anvil wedge shape you see in lognkosaurians. So the rib cage was a bit more modest.
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:iconninjamonkey38:
NinjaMonkey38 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh. *headdesk* Whatever wiki-vandal that told me that should be hanged, flogged, then hanged again! (Cookie if you get the Merlin reference!)
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I wonder who originally inflated Ande's size and when?

IIRC Lessem and Glut provided a very modest size estimate back in 1993 (in the Dinosaur Society Dinosaur Encylopedia, with Tracy Ford''s skeletal silhouette).
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Blame can be placed squarely at Dougal Dixon's feet. :XD: Though I'm not sure he's the first one to make such claims of a 30m Andesaurus. Being a popular author, but not a paleontologist, he's been known to exaggerate such things in the past (though it's pretty rare).
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Hey, did you know that Jobaria is "a titanosaurid that is a mix of different animals"? It was found in Tanzania by the Germans and "named after the great German palaeontologist Werner Janensch."

Who woulda thunk it?!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Jobaria is not a titanosaur and it was not named after Janensch. You're probably talking about Janenschia. Jobaria is a totally different animal, it's a basal sauropod similar to cetiosaurs.

As for Janenschia, it's not a mix of different animals. It WAS once thrown into Gigantosaurus (as was Malawisaurus) as well as Tornieria. But it's not related to either of those animals. Janenschia, as it's understood today, is based on a number of different-sized individuals, but they are all recognizably the same species of titanosauriform.
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Heh - I was quoting Dixon 2006 :P
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
The Dixer strikes again I see. You'd think he might have avoided mixing up a basal eusauropod with a titanosauriform. Their names aren't THAT similar. I mean confusing Barosaurus with Barrosasaurus, that I could see happening. But "Jobar" with "Janensch"? What's Dixon been sampling, I knew the difference when I was 7 years old. :XD:
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, to be perfectly fair Dixon is an incredibly nice guy - he showed interest in Spec and, upon learning that I would be presenting an expose on the project in Perth in 2004, was nice enough to loan me a life-sized puppet of a Crackbeak (arboreal Australian ornithopod from the New Dinosaurs), shipping the priceless artifact all the way from the UK for display purposes.

Just been flicking through "The Age of Dinosaurs. A photographic record" (Dixon, 1984) with Jane Burton's insanely beautiful photo-dioramas. For its time, the text is pretty up to date but still has the odd Dixonism every now and then - like a ca.15m long Peloneustes.

"What's Dixon been sampling?" - After reading "Man After Man" I'm not sure I wanna know...
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:iconbrolyeuphyfusion9500:
Seems like all your dinosaurs hate humans...They're always kicking them...
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Naah that's not kicking, neither arm is angled forward. That's just standard walking pose in mid-stride.
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:iconbrolyeuphyfusion9500:
It looks like the pose before the kick, with the legs prepared to push Andesaurus forward to boost the power of the kick
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:iconmrgorsh:
MrGorsh Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have to say, you can't simply not love this reconstruction. Really well drawn and informative. It actually inspired my recent model, so thank you for this one so much :)
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Btw, whst d'you make of Ruyangosaurus and Huanghetitan, Asia's largest dinosaurs? On wikipedia I once saw a tentative marking out of Ruyangosaurus as an andesaurid, but I was a little skeptical....
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
It's NOT an "andesaurid". It's far more derived. The relatively crude description paper tentatively placed it in Andesauridae based on three very weak characters, one of which doesn't even exist in Ruyangosaurus (:X!) and the other two are not even diagnostic of any particular titanosaur family. The authors did admit that their tentative classification is not very strong, and alternate taxonomies are possible. To make things even more complicated, "Andesauridae" as it was originally defined (with Argentinosaurus, Andesaurus, and Epachthosaurus as its members) is not even a valid family, Epachthosaurus is far more derived than Andesaurus, and some new research suggest Argentinosaurus also might be a bit too derived to belong to the same family. If there is an "andesauridae", for now it only includes Andesaurus itself.

I'm currently involved in a project to find Ruyangosaurus's exact family relationships, so I can't give out too many details, but I've done comparisons of Ruyangosaurus with over 20 other titanosaurs and so far the preliminary phylogenetic tree doesn't place it close to Andesaurus. It does fit very well someplace else in titanosauria.

Huanghetitan is a completely different beast, and is likely even more primitive than Andesaurus. It probably belongs in its own family, Huanghetitanidae, which depending on who you ask, is either intermediate between brachiosaurs and euhelopodids, or euhelopodids and titanosaurs. H. ruyangensis is probably a different genus from the type species. Both are very incomplete, but so far their closest relative is the smaller Dongyangosaurus, which is complete enough to fill in some of the gaps in the back and hips (sadly no neck material though).

Both H. ruyangensis and Ruyangosaurus probably topped 100 ft. and 80 tons. Ruyangosaurus seems to be the more massive of the two according to the description paper, and H. ruyangensis is already known to have the biggest ribs yet found, so Ruyangosaurus could be an animal of near-legendary size. Daxiatitan, which is a euhelopodid, is probably 100 ft. long, but far lighter than either Huanghetitan or Ruyangosaurus, since euhelopodids are basically crazy-long necks with compact bodies.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, than heavens! Two giants coexisting would be freakish!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Which two?
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Andesaurus and Argentiosaurus
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
They actually lived in different places. Argentinosaurus was in the Huincul formation, Andesaurus was in the Rio Limay/Candeleros formation closer to the Andes mountains, hence its name.

BTW Giganotosaurus actually lived in the same area as Andesaurus NOT Argentinosaurus. The main predator of Argentinosaurus was actually Mapusaurus. However the possibility remains open that there was an Argentinosaurus-sized species in Candeleros that interacted with Giganotosaurus.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahhh....everyone who likes theatrics mixes the two giants up, I see...
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah... fortunately some well-known artists have not fallen on that bandwagon, and others have corrected the error.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, thankfully.
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:iconelsqiubbonator:
ElSqiubbonator Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2011
It's not impossible they met once in a while, though. . .
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(1 Reply)
:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
Still excellent. Got something for you to see, if you haven't already. [link]

It's a digital sketch of a Paralatitan getting swamped, er, wet....VERY wet. I did it a few years ago, practicing for a painting. Hope you like it. If you don't, drop a sneer in the comments box.

Why Paralatitan? Why not? I don't know what it looks like any more than anyone else, and its name implies water. :chew:
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:iconbucketman123:
bucketman123 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very nice
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:iconmaniraptora:
maniraptora Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:clap:
I always though thay the size of Andesaurus was sometimes overestimated...
Great work!!!
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
still, I wouldn't want this "puppy" to accidentally step on me... ;-)
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, it was... mainly due to unverified and baseless numbers that were published and repeated multiple times without question in popular books that clearly didn't follow the scientific literature, and overhyped this rather modest-sized titanosaur to the level of an almost mythical Argentinosaurus-like record breaker. Hence I made the error of drawing it too big in the previous version, back when I didn't have access to the description paper and only had those non-technical books to go on (thanks for nothing Dougal Dixon! :X)

Nowadays, when I see a huge size estimate for any sauropod, my first instinct is to hunt down the original papers and see if the claims are plausible based on the size of the bones. And it turns out that MANY more giants have been overestimated in books and on the internet, figures blindly repeated without question. Phuwiangosaurus, Haplocanthosaurus, Paralititan, Tornieria, "Ultrasauros", Seismosaurus, and Atlantosaurus just to name a few.
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