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Futalognkosaurus recon Mk. V by Paleo-King Futalognkosaurus recon Mk. V by Paleo-King
The long-awaited fifth version of my Futalognkosaurus dukei skeletal. Everything has been revamped, from the swept-back dorsal neural spines and the more natural rib cage shape to the "shark-fin" neck processes, which are finally the correct height. Also the torso has been shortened slightly and the tail lengthened, and the head silhouette has a more prominent nasal arch. Finally I added a front view of one of the anterior dorsal vertebrae. Everything looks smoother, cleaner, and better-proportioned now - it's beginning to look a lot more like a finished product.

Futalognkosaurus dukei (Calvo et. al. 2007)

Taxonomy: Saurischia; Sauropodomorpha; Sauropoda; Macronaria; Titanosauria; Lognkosauria

Meaning of name: "Great Chief Lizard of Duke Energy Company"

Time: Late Cretaceous (Turonian-Coniacian epochs, ~ 90-87 million years ago)

Hailing from Late Cretaceous Argentina, Futalognkosaurus dukei was one of the most massive dinosaurs ever known, with the deepest neck on record and a colossal pelvis exceeding 2m at its widest point. It's also the most complete giant titanosaur known, though due to the current lack of reliable measurements it's hard to tell just how "giant" the entire animal was. My skeletal reconstruction is done based on extensive cross-scaling using the best known unpublished photos [link] and verifying the most reliable of the published measurements with the sizes of the people said photos.

Futalognkosaurus was a member of the family Lognkosauria, a transitional group of titanosaurs with a plethora of strange and extreme skeletal features, including extremely wide dorsal vertebrae and rib cages. They ranged from the small (Malawisaurus) to the colossal (Puertasaurus). Futalognkosaurus, a Late Cretaceous lognkosaur, was one of the larger members of the family, and so far the one with the tallest neck bones - indeed it may have proportionally the deepest neck of any sauropod with the exception of Isisaurus.

Currently this recon shows Futalognkosaurus at 100 ft. (30m), rivaling Argentinosaurus in length, and likely exceeding both Paralititan and Argyrosaurus. Nevertheless the width of the vertebrae, though impressive, indicates it is still significantly smaller than both Puertasaurus and the new adult Alamosaurus remains, and it may also be outclassed by Ruyangosaurus giganteus and Huanghetitan ruyangensis. Never heard of these creatures? Sometimes I'm shocked at the sheer number of these record-breakers myself. We've truly come a long way since "Ultrasauros".
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, Futalognkosaurus was a lognkosaur, and if Mendozasaurus, also a lognkosaur, has a long tail, then shouldn't this ahve a long, whip-ish tail too? I mean, like, it's gonna be,....aroudn the same size of something 32 or 35 meters....couldn't it be so? I mean, we don't know this guy's tail at all, so...jsut a guess on my part...
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
The end of Mendozasaurus' tail has not been found, so there's no proof of a whip-like ending. Also based on the diagrams in Gonzalez-Riga (2003), the remains of the Mendozasaurus tail indicate that it's not unusually long for a titanosaur - only about twice the length of the torso, which is puny compared to REALLY long tails like Diplodocus. Also the neck of Mendozasaurus has never been found, so it might have been a long-necked form rather than a long-tailed form.

All in all there's no proof for a whip-like tail in any lognkosaur, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there... just makes it speculation, that's all. Only the first tail vertebra of Futalognkosaurus has been found, and only isolated parts of the tails of Traukutitan, Drusilasaura, and Puertasaurus (whose caudals were oddly enough never published). The number of vertebrae in any of these tails is anyone's guess. But my best guess is that they were not super-long, since even the whiplike tails of derived titanosaurs like Alamosaurus are of moderate length. What's more titanosaur whips were thicker and more muscular than diplodocid whips, and could possibly even be held upright without drooping at the end.

Futalognkosaurus could still come out to 30 meters even with a longer tail, since I suspect I scaled this skeleton too large. The next version will have just 10 dorsal vertebrae, based on the actual text of the description paper (not the cheesy misleading diagram in it), as well as being a bit smaller to better match the two known scalable photos of the bones with live humans for comparison. The tail will be a bit longer too.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, yeah, most people do keep on restoring Mendozasaurus-whatever's drawn of it, I've only seen one flesh on pic and a little skeletal which I based all of my own reconstructions on-with the longish tail and short, hefty-looking neck...Well, yeah, even that Futalognkosaurus which appears everywhere, with that lovely curving neck, has a diplodocid-like body and tail...the Wikipedia pic does, in fact. Well, sizes...I'm sure they did have a size range among Lognkosaurians...
Like, with P.reuili at highest limit, F. dukei at 2nd with occasional highs, and M.neguyelap, Drusilasaura and Traukutitan i nthe lower ones...thansk for the info, btw!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Actually there are other potential lognkosaurs bigger than F. dukei and smaller than Mendozasaurus, Drusilasaura, and Traukutitan. Lognkosaurs seem to run the whole gamut of titanosaur sizes. Traukutitan and Mendozasaurus are actually quite large, Traukutitan's femur is close to 2m long and Mendozasaurus includes some individuals that are 15% bigger than the holotype (you know, the one that was drawn in the little skeletal and the flesh-on pic you were talking about). Yeah, Mendozasaurus got at least 15% bigger than that. And I suspect the neck in those drawings was WAY too short, if Puertasaurus and Futalognkosaurus are any clue, lognkosaurs had BIG neck bones and a lot of them, I would expect the same of Mendozasaurus and the others. Malawisaurus is more of a "stem-lognkosaur" and technically not a true member of the family, plus it's small so its more moderate neck isn't really representative of the entire clade (still, even the neck of Malawisaurus is often drawn too short).
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Soemthing like 30 m for Mendozasaurus too then, I should say...something in that range then....it'll b e the biggest dinosaur ever to have armor on it, which is cool, so....I should definitely draw a Mendozasaurus the new way! And put it up on DA....The new huge way....do you suspect that, with long necks, the lognkosaurs were titanosaurid analogues of diplodocids, y'know, since they all went extinct by Mid Cretaceous times?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Mendozasaurus realistically was not 30 m. It was more like 20-23m long. The type specimen is around 18-20m long. And the biggest known individuals are 15% bigger. Well, 18m x 1.15 = 20.7m = 68.3ft. and at the upper limit, 20m x 1.15 = 23m = 75.9 ft. So even the biggest Mendozasaurus probably didn't top 80 feet long. That's still big, but not mega-sized. So I wouldn't draw it so big. But it should have a longer neck than Gonzalez-Riga (2003) gave it.

Long necks do NOT make titanosaurs the cretaceous analogues of diplodocids. In fact, most diplodocids had rather SHORT necks for a sauropod. The only real exceptions are Supersaurus and the barosaurinae. All other diplodocids were relatively short-necked. Diplodocids are well known for having long tails, not long necks!

That said, SOME titanosaurs (the short-necked ground feeders like Saltasaurus) did fill the same niches as diplodocids had earlier. Some of these late titanosaurs had square mouths which were the same sort of fern-cropping design than Diplodocus and Apatosaurus used. Nemegtosaurids converged more on high-browsing barosaurs in terms of mouth shape. But some of them still had high shoulders like their brachiosaurid uncles (Alamosaurus is a good example).

However, the majority of large titanosaurs, and pretty much all lognkosaurs, filled in more of a brachiosaur-like niche than a diplodocid one. Judging by Malawisaurus, they were high browsers with pretty strong teeth and big noses. Also diplodocids went extinct at the very end of the Jurassic, not at mid-Cretaceous. It was their cousins the Dicraeosaurids and Rebbachisaurids that survived into the Cretaceous (which is probably why low-grazing saltasaurs didn't become common until relatively late in the cretaceous after rebbachisaurs and dicraeosaurs had largely died off...)
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow. Well, the rebbachisaurs were the last of the diplodocoids then, I mean, seeing as Limaysaurus and Nopcsaspondylus and stuff were interacting with things like big titanosaurs and followign the low browser niche then....and I definitely should do more on diplodocoids....kinda forgotten that Diplodocus' neck wasn't as long as a Barosaurus of the same size too.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, barosaurs were pretty unusual... otherwise, diplodocids mostly had short necks. And dicraeosaurs had VERY short necks... generally the low-browsing sauropods had shorter necks than high-browsing ones. Read my latest blog post to find out more about the purposes and biomechanics of different types of sauropod necks: [link]
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(1 Reply)
:iconcarcharodontotitan:
Carcharodontotitan Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2011
Is this animal your next forgotten giant?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
No. It's not yet ready for "Forgotten" Giant formatting and packaging. That beast will be up soon.
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