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Futalognkosaurus recon Mk. VIII by Paleo-King Futalognkosaurus recon Mk. VIII by Paleo-King
The long awaited 8th version! Multiview hi-fi skeletal, which is a first for any titanosaur. :XD: This will be the last posted version before a final "Forgotten Giants" treatment.

This multi-view skeletal has already inspired several other restorations, including this superb one by Vladimir Nikolov: t-pekc.deviantart.com/art/Futa… . Earlier versions were the basis for the Royal Ontario Museum's exhibit torontoist.com/2012/02/the-gre… of Futalognkosaurus - though their final skeleton cast ended up being an uncalled-for frankenstein job that is actually more Alamosaurus than Futalognkosaurus.

Corrections since the last version: the entire skeleton overhauled! New photos and data available since last time required a whole new skeletal, with nearly none of the original reconstruction carried over. A number of elements were redone based on Scott Hartman's new skeletal shartman.deviantart.com/art/Bi… , but with additional detail. Whereas Hartman filled in the gaps with basal Malawisaurus material (including the skull), I went straight for the hi-fi jugular and filled the gaps with material from the closest known relatives of Futalognkosaurus - Mendozasaurus, Traukutitan, and Drusilasaura. The skull is a midde-of-the-road speculative morph between Malawisaurus and Antarctosaurus considering the transitional position of Futalognkosaurus. I doubt the skull was a clone of either Malawisaurus or Rapetosaurus (as reconstructed in the new ROM mount). Also included is material from the two referred juvenile specimens of Futalognkosaurus found at the same site at Barreales Lake. The hands and feet are speculative at this point, including the size and shape of the thumb claws.

The majority of the tail has not been found, and was restored after Mendozasaurus and Traukutitan. Since there aren't any good top-view photo sets for lognkosaurian caudals, the dorsal view of the tail is based on two more distant relatives known from far more complete tails - the basal saltasauroids Trigonosaurus and Baurutitan.

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)
Length: ~27.3m (90ft), perhaps more depending on maturity
Probable Mass: ~ 50 tons, perhaps more depending on maturity (yes, the holotype animal was smaller and lighter than we once thought... sorry but it's TRUE).

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. My skeletal reconstruction is done based on extensive cross-scaling of the best unpublished photos and the most reliable published measurements. Three specimens of Futalognkosaurus were found at the site, which is on the edge of Barreales Lake. Aside from the "adult" holotype, the other two individuals are juveniles. They include arm and leg material which still has yet to be published, including at least one complete humerus: dinoweb.narod.ru/futalongosaur… . As one might expect, most photos of these are small and from awful angles which made measuring and scaling them a nightmare. The femur of one of the referred juveniles (visible in the background of one photo) lewisthelion.com/wp-content/up… shows a close resemblance to Traukutitan: lewisthelion.com/wp-content/up…

The Barreales Lake site is a rare treasure, since it preserves a whole Cretaceous ecosystem, including the giant allosauroid Megaraptor, the true raptor Unenlagia, a couple of undescribed titanosaur species, and plenty of plants, fish, turtles and crocodiles, in addition to Futalognkosaurus itself.

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 had the deepest neck of any sauropod with the possible exception of Isisaurus.

Currently this recon shows Futalognkosaurus at 90 ft. (27.3m), rivaling most of the biggest titanosaurs. Nevertheless in terms of overall dimensions it is outclassed by Argentinosaurus and several other giants. Though wide and massive, it was likely a good bit smaller in overall volume than its wide-bodied cousins Puertasaurus and Ruyangosaurus. The 32-34m estimate originally proposed by Jorge Calvo and colleagues is a bit excessive in my view. All the same, anything approaching 100 ft. long and 50 tons is beyond awesome.
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:iconvigorousnebuladragon:
May I ask how big is Futalognkosaurus currently regarded? Both the Dreadnoughtus' official weight chart and your size chart in the Dreadnoughtus' blog post have its size pretty much diminutive compare to Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus.
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:iconvigorousnebuladragon:
VigorousNebulaDragon Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014
So how about the length? Pretty much the same to Dreadnoughtus too?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I have to revise the mass estimates because they actually are lower than I anticipated. Futalognkosaurus and Dreadnoughtus both should weigh around 50-55 tons. Volume estimates confirm this. That said, even Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus may be overmassed relative to the models.
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:iconvigorousnebuladragon:
VigorousNebulaDragon Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014
So all those 100+ estimates for Puertasaurus is no longer accurate?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That's not necessarily true. Based on my own interpretation of Puertasaurus (I just checked a couple of nights ago) assuming similar average density to Giraffatitan, the 110 tons estimate for Puertasaurus should still hold.

The question is, is my own interpretation oversized. It may be by a little bit, but not much. In fact at its current scaling, the mass estimate came out to 125 tons which may be a bit high. Perhaps shortening the tail a bit would help correct for the excess. I've had to do the same with Futalognkosaurus as more data became available.
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:iconblazze92:
bLAZZE92 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
I think you have it oversized, Calvo et al. (2008) conference abstract "Re-sizing giants: estimation of body length of Futalognkosaurus dukei and implications for giant titanosaurian sauropods" says that the neck to sacral length of the type specimen is 13m, yours is over 14m, Benson et al (2014) also has measurements of humerus and femur that are ascribed to the type specimen, they are 151cm and 194.5cm respectively, about 10% smaller than what you depicted them, just like the vertebral column (excellent cross scaling!).

If we reduce your estimates by 10% it's 26m long and ~50 tons, btw do you perform a GDI on your skeletals?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Not yet. I don't have patience for that much calculus! :X  I've always been more of an art person than a math person, but I try to get percentages and scaling as close as possible given the limited information. I just try to get the amount of flesh right and leave the GDI to the mathematicians. So the estimates of mass are rough ones, and we must remember mass fluctuated seasonally based on fat reserves. Of course even without fat reserves this animal looks "fatter" than even some other titanosaurs. I suspect I did the tail too long because of how small the first caudal is relative to the overall body size. This creature was not very tail-heavy by the looks of things. I will be editing that soon.

However I suspect some parts of the spinal column may look smaller due to erosion of the ends, especially the upper neck vertebrae. Furthermore the cartilage in between the bones could easily have added more length within a 1m margin of error.

The humerus and femur are actually not from the type specimen, they are from a smaller individual, so these were roughly scaled up for the holotype as conservatively as I could justify them (the legs are clearly not as long as in more basal titanosauriforms). The type specimen is only known from axial material. two smaller individuals were found at the site which include limb bones and scapula. Most of the remaining gaps were filled based on scaled-up Mendozasaurus limb material. Unlike Scott Hartman I don't consider Malawisaurus to be the best filler material for this beast, due to its more basal position.
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:icontheropod1:
theropod1 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014
GDI is not calculus.
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:iconblazze92:
bLAZZE92 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
Weird that Benson et al (2014) listed them as belonging to the type specimen, their size relative to the axial length claimed by Calvo et al matched perfectly with your skeletal so I took that as "well they might be from the type after all". Mendozasaurus has come up as sister taxón in several (most?) phylogenetic analysis right?

That third paper can't come son enough!

Have you read SVPOW's guide to GDI? it can be easily done in an excel spreadsheet, is not really complicated just time consuming haha.
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:iconpaleo-reptiles:
Paleo-reptiles Featured By Owner May 7, 2013
Remember the (adult) Alamosaurus
[link]
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:iconpaleo-reptiles:
Paleo-reptiles Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013
Beautiful and perfect!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much! Well, as close to perfect as anyone has gotten, given that many parts of the skeleton have never been photographed from good angles. :XD:
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:icon13ghostez:
13ghostEz Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist
haha it's fat...
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, many titanosaurs look very fat compared to other sauropod groups (especially intermediate and derived titanosaurs... the basal ones like Argentinosaurus probably looked a bit slimmer and more barrel-shaped). Futalognkosaurus wasn't even the fattest titanosaur (that record would probably go to its cousins Puertasaurus and Ruyangosaurus). The 'fattening' of later titanosaur groups held true at any size; even some of the smaller titanosaurs (such as Rapetosaurus [link]) had pretty wide rib cages. And of course don't forget Opisthocoelicaudia, which was built like a tank all over its body.

Why did they get this way? Probably had something to do with the plants they were eating. It's possible that many cretaceous titanosaurs started eating angiosperms as well as conifers, and had to evolve bigger guts to break down the alkaloid toxins (they didn't chew so it would be hard to "denature" the toxins by oxidation). Or it could be that conifers themselves got tougher to digest in the cretaceous. But one thing's for sure... once titanosaurs went fat, they never went back. :XD:
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:icon13ghostez:
13ghostEz Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist
i just thought it was cute
cuz dinosaurs r cute, especially that one big scary pterodactyl kind. i guess that would be called a pteranodon, not a dinosaur. i forget what its called, though. it's supposed to be the biggest kind. i like things that fly, they're cool...
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
Beautiful work, PK! Take a bow! :iconraptorlaplz:
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:icondino-mario:
Dino-Mario Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Really nicely done!!!
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:iconsapiens89:
sapiens89 Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
nice!
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:iconemperordinobot:
EmperorDinobot Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
I'mma need to update mine. And what is Traukutitan? Is that new?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Traukutitan is relatively new as a unique published genus, but it was mis-classified as a specimen of Epachthosaurus for many years (the same fate befell Pellegrinisaurus, although neither animal is all that similar to Epachthosaurus).

Traukutitan is a large lognkosaur (though not as big as Futalognkosaurus), known from both femurs and several tail vertebrae [link] .

Traukutitan, along with its close kin Mendozasaurus and Drusilasaura, was probably in the 70-80 foot range (and as usual with lognkosaurians, pretty thick for its length).
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:iconteratophoneus:
Teratophoneus Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
this is awesome, finally seeing the completely correct version , man,you really are an perfectionist true and true. Awesome work, thats the only thing I can say,AWESOME!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much :) I can say for one thing that this project, with all its revisions and updates, has taught me more about titanosaur anatomy than anything I've ever read in a book or even a scientific paper!
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome stuff, I can't get over how massive that neck is! I know it was pneumatic, but it must weigh nearly 10 tons!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, it's definitely something else. Probably a result of sexual selection. I don't buy the theory that sauropod necks were long only for sexual advertising (after all, specialized feeding niches had to have something to do with it), but as for the depth of the neck - that's a whole different game. The neural spines certainly don't need to be that tall for any practical mechanical purpose (such as holding the neck vertical) and they definitely don't increase flexibility. The billboard neck of Isisaurus was probably an even more extreme result of sexual selection, aside from all the other bizarre proportions on that animal.
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think the presence of such neck deepness is compelling towards very colorful sauropods. Imagine a neck like that all striped up, or a single bright color, after ll, I doubt they were hiding from anything! :)

I see them as something along these lines...
Bonus Amphicoelias Illustration!
[link]
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Nice! The classic Mark Hallett painting that really shows how big Amphicoelias fragillimus was compared to Brachiosaurus and Barosaurus, which everyone thinks were "huge". Well they are, for us, but Amphicoelias is a whole different level. A very Bakkerian concept of brightly colored sauropods.

But I don't think all sauropods necessarily looked that way. Some might have been very boldly striped, but much like color-seeing animals today it's equally likely that other species were rather plain-colored (though I doubt they were totally devoid of patterns). A deep neck like Futa's definitely makes more surface area for display patterns like stripes, but what sorts of colors were on the neck may have little or nothing to do with what we consider eye-catching. Based on their eye structure it's very likely that dinosaurs had excellent color vision. But simply because you can see in color, doesn't mean you want your mate to look like an Andy Warhol painting. Perhaps sauropods (or at least some of them) weren't big fans of super-gaudy colors. Maybe something a bit more subtle and elegant. Also keep in mind that while animals as big as Futalognkosaurus weren't hiding from anything, they also may not have had much reason to expend large amounts of nutrients on highly concentrated pigments over such a large skin surface, given that their size was already their best form of "peacocking". The square footage on that neck alone is insane. Patterns, yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean it had the vividness of a poison dart frog on every square inch. Small bright patches in certain places (near the head for instance) may have made more sense for the really huge giants.

Smaller sauropods on the other hand would have had to use up less nutrients in developing brightly colored scales over their surface smaller area, and since their smaller size provided less protection from predators, some of them may have had bright warning colors instead of the stereotypical camouflage most people assume. Isisaurus for sure is a great candidate for some extreme color patterns. Not only is it smaller than Futa, it's also got far more bizarre proportions. The neck is proportionally deeper, both for its length and relative to the body size (although Futa's gigantic neck was deeper in terms of raw footage). Also odd spiny/frilly sauropods like Agustinia and most dicraeosaurs would have likely had bright colors to augment their extreme body modifications. Other sauropods - those with a more plain body design that was not sexually selected for extreme showiness - may have had rather plain colors/patterns too.

Of course this is all speculative, since the biggest land animals today are all color-blind mammals and make rather poor models color-wise for dinosaurs. But if you look at birds you notice that it's very rare to have a big species be brightly colored, whether it's a predator or prey. Bright colors are far more common and much smaller birds with a far smaller habitat/range. Birds can all see in color, but there's a bit of a size difference between lorikeets and emus. For emus, being brightly colored would be very expensive, resource-wise. And cassowaries may have brightly colored heads and wattles, but the body is all black feathers on gray skin.
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
While I agree with you on all points,
nature has some surprises. Some of the most brightly and bizarrely colored creatures live in realms where the basic color of light is blue.

Me? I'd draw them with patterns, but who knows?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I like patterns too... I just suspect that most sauropod patterns were not colored like some sore-eyes garish psychedelic fashion trend out of the 60s. There's plausible patterning, and then there's just overdoing it.
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
Agreed...but what if they were like cassowaries?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Then only the head and upper neck would have bright colors... actually I suspect some sauropods did look like that. Especially anything with a big nasal crest.
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Agreed on all points! I didn't think about the energy tax of such large amounts of pigment...but we never know I suppose!

I wish the were a larger version of that Mark Hallett picture floating around...:(
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This Futalognkosaurus skeletal must've been a serious nightmare to work on, I mean, it evolves and evolves and evolves!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
You are right, that's what happens when you have a lot of bones, a lot of amateur photos, VERY FEW good ones from cardinal angles, and of course almost no consistency in the published scale bars and measurements. With every new bit of data there are some changes required. Even on this version... though I will NOT be posting a Mk-IX. Just maybe a few adjustments on this version. It's close enough now.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Seems like an interesting yet unfortunate case
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Well the crazy thing it is didn't have to be this way. It would be SO EASY for Calvo et. al. to take measurements and double-check the scale bars. Or at least take better definition color photos instead of black-and-white ones. And more photos from more angles. The majority of the skeleton was NOT photographed in the published papers, out of the photos I used for reference I had to resort to Pinterest and Tumblr to get many of them, and those are amateur photos from visitors to the museum/dig site and are rarely from a good angle for illustration.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's like a repeating joke, really. There's a massive dinosaur involved and people never really take good pictures or properly illustrate most of the remains; it happened with Amphicoelias and it happened with "Bruhathkayosaurus". It's like people don't know how monumental the find is, and given that Calvo is definitely highly regarded, it seems strange...
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Strange indeed. But the other issue could be that these people are not primarily sauropod specialists. Look up their CV, I find many paleontologists spend far more time on their papers for small theropods because of personal academic reasons (i.e. bird links and so on). But it's the BIG stuff that draws people to museums in the first place so I would focus far more on that. And Titanosaurs especially are the least well-understood group of dinosaurs, so it's bizarre that any dinosaur paleontologists would just skim over this area and focus on ANYTHING else.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Perhaps it's a double-headed deal...titanosaurs are not well known because they are overlooked and conversely, are overlooked because they aren't well known. That's the way I can make sense of it, as that the majority of titans are Gondwanan and those dinosaurs are not as well-understood as the Laurasian fauna in any case
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:iconqilong:
Qilong Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012
I notice that the coracoids and sterna are not in contact. Is this intentional?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
For the time being, yes. I saw these restored a number of different ways so I was debating how to draw them properly, I ended up putting in more soft tissue space around the bones in case different data on the sternals turns up. I don't buy Greg Paul's rendition of sauropod chests with the coracoids grinding painfully against the sternals and the entire shoulder unite dragging down to the bottom of the chest in backstride. Scott Hartman apparently puts some space between the coracoids and sternals as well, and since his restoration of arm movement in sauropods is closer to my own, I went with something more similar to that.
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:iconafrovenator:
Afrovenator Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012
The amount of detail in your reconstruction is staggering! I am really impressed! :) Job well done! :D
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:iconrajaharimau98:
RajaHarimau98 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome job! It seems to be a little wide too, though not as wide as Puertasaurus.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Good observation! You're right, Futa probably wasn't as wide as Puertasaurus, since its dorsals have smaller transverse processes (and probably supported a narrower rib cage). Still it easily outclasses any non-titanosaur rib cage in width, and even many basal titanosaurs. Futa also appears to be more basal than Puertasaurus, which would make a lot of sense since it appears that ultra-wide rib cages were a trait that got more extreme over time in certain titanosaur groups as they evolved.
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:iconrajaharimau98:
RajaHarimau98 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yay, now I feel smart! :P
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Congratulations, man! Way cool.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
Awesome and very helpfull as always :clap: :thumbsup:
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