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Klamelisaurus gobiensis skeletal by Paleo-King Klamelisaurus gobiensis skeletal by Paleo-King
Klamelisaurus gobiensis

Etymology: "Kelameilishan mountains lizard from the Gobi desert"

Time horizon: Middle Jurassic, Bathonian-Callovian epochs (~166 mya)

Length: 16.7m (~55 ft.)

Probable mass: 10 tons

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*Skull now revised to bring it closer in proportions to the Tokyo museum sculpt* (the actual skull was not found with the holotype, and purported skull material has never been formally described.)

The most complete non-mamenchisaur high browser from Jurassic China, Klamelisaurus gobiensis. A basal cousin of the earliest brachiosaurs, this midsized giant converged on mamenchisaurs in overall proportions. However the far more derived hips and shoulder blades are clearly those of a titanosauriform, and are an indicator of things to come.

Klamelisaurus had the extremely long neck and high vertebra count found in both mamenchisaurids and euhelopodids, indicating that this design evolved separately at least three times, all three being endemic to China. There must have been something about the environment which encouraged these common proportions, and made most other sauropod designs extremely rare. The odd thing about this animal is that it's not found anywhere near most mamenchisaurids, which hail from Sichuan province in the south - it's from China's far western regions, in the west end of the Gobi desert. Most of the Gobi is known purely for yielding Late Cretaceous dinosaurs (Iren Dabasu, Djadochta and Nemegt formations), so a Jurassic species from the Gobi is truly a rare prize. It may also indicate that not all of China's Jurassic forests were dominated by the mamenchisaur clan.

When exactly the klamelisaurids split from the brachiosaurids is unknown, but clues to their common origins may be found in a late-clinging descendant of those halcyon days of proto-titanosauriforms, the so-called "Lavocatitan":…

What is known is that both Klamelisaurus and the most basal brachiosaurids (i.e. Atlasaurus) still had bifid neural spines in the lower neck and the first few dorsal vertebrae, a primitive trait retained from non-titanosauriform ancestors, which disappeared in later brachiosaurs, laurasiforms, and other basal titanosauriforms, only to be re-evolved in huanghetitanids, euhelopodids, and acrofornicans such as Phuwiangosaurus.

A herd of juvenile specimens originally named Bellusaurus sui have since become generally accepted as juveniles of Klamelisaurus, based on ontogeny and stratigraphic age. This is one of the few cases of lumping I find credible anatomically, and it's some of the best evidence that sauropods lived in age-specific herds, and may have been specialized for eating different types of plants at different points in their lives. The type specimen of Klamelisaurus appears to be mature based on the fusion of the coracoid with the scapula. Its first two dorsals already exhibit fusion, which is very unusual in this part of a sauropod, and a number of the caudals appear to exhibit some pathologies in the neural spines similar to what is seen in several individuals of various "Mamenchisaurus" species. Apparently these animals took out a lot of anger on each other's tails. :XD:

Since its discovery in 1993, little other research has been done on Klamelisaurus. However it is known that its family is not monospecific. The more obscure Daanosaurus zhangi and its basal cousin Abrosaurus dongpoi ( = gigantorhinus) are also likely klamelisaurs. Abrosaurus is known from good skull material, although the skull is somewhat crushed, and as usual with these things, has often been restored incorrectly to look like something far more primitive (or even prosauropod-like) than what it really is.


Zhao Xijing (1993) "A new Mid-Jurassic sauropod (Klamelisaurus gobiensis gen. et sp. nov.) from Xinjiang, China" Vertebrata PalAsiatica Volume 31, No. 2 April, 1993 pp. 132-138

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Jeda45 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
Are you suggesting that all Bellusaurus sui fossils are juveniles of Klamelisaurus gobiensis?
darklord86 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014
TitanoRex Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013
Its nice seeing work gone on those many obscurer sauropods of Asia
pilsator Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very nice, didn't know how complete this otherwise overly mysterious eusauropod is.

But what, if anything, are acrofornicans? Never heard of that taxon.
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
If you like, you can call them Phuwiangosauridae. :XD:

Basically acrofornia ("tall arches") are the transitional group that sits somewhere between euhelopodids and true titanosaurs on the macronarian family tree. Their dorsal vertebrae tend to have very tall neural arches, modest-length diapophyses, and almost no neural spine. The caudals are usually more or less amphiplatyan, which sets them apart from true euhelopodids like Daxiatitan. Some of them have specialized elongated skulls and teeth that roughly converge on nemegtosaurids.

The group contains Phuwiangosaurus, Baotianmansaurus, Tangvayosaurus, "Titanosaurus falloti", and possibly Huabeisaurus, Sonidosaurus, Janenschia and "Pelorosaurus" becklesii. It's never been given the name Acrofornica in print, but the group does seem to be monophyletic based on the unique morphology of the vertebrae, the robust humeri (with very tightly crammed anterior distal condyles) and femora, and the fact that like euhelopodids, they have bifid neural spines in the rear cervicals and first few dorsals. Once you get to the rear dorsals, they already start to show hints of the rounded centrum and tall cruciform neural arch configuration seen in Andesaurus and Argentinosaurus, rather than the squat vertebrae and flattened centra of Euhelopus.
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Student Artist
That's really awesome!:)
Kazuma27 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The skull looks quite camarasaur-ish...
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
It's actually a mix of basal brachiosaur, euhelopodid, and "cetiosaur"-grade eusauropod, with a bit of Abrosaurus thrown in to balance it all out. The rear portion of the skull is very different form a camarasaur. But superficially, most basal titanosauriforms as well as earlier "cetiosaur" creatures look very roughly like a camarasaur.

It actually looks a good bit less camarasaur-like than the speculative skull in the Tokyo cast of the animal.
Kazuma27 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I see.
Carcharodontotitan Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013
It looks like a combination of a brachiosaurid and a mamenchisaurid.
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Good observation, it's basically a primitive stem-brachisoaur trying very hard to be a mamenchisaurid :D

There are many cases of non-mamenchisaurid sauropods in China basically copying the mamenchisaurid body plan. Everything from this guy to Euhelopus and Erketu, to even some nemegtosaurs!
Carcharodontotitan Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013
Some nemegtosaurs? Which ones?
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Well for starters, Huabeisaurus and "Xinghesaurus", if they turn out to be nemegtosaurs. It's possible that they are actually acrofornicans as there's not much good skull material known, and amphiplatyan caudals are rare in derived lithostrotians. But that doesn't explain why the Xinghesaurus skull was restored like a nemegtosaur (it appears to be based on actual skull material and shows some crushing). Then you have Jiangshanosaurus, which appears to be a genuine nemegtosaur based on the distinctive Alamosaurus-like shoulder material, and whose vertebrae look somewhat mamenchisaur-like (for a titanosaur anyway).

Also there are some mamenchisaur-mimic nemegtosaurs whose identity is not in so much doubt, but as they are still under preparation behind and not mentioned in print yet, I can't comment on them.
Carcharodontotitan Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013
Cool. Acrofornicans in the Late Cretaceous?
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
It's possible. There were still brachiosaurs in the Late Cretaceous (the Mexican specimen). And huanghetitanids (H. ruyangensis, Dongyangosaurus). And euhelopodids (Angolatitan).

Why not acrofornicans...
Carcharodontotitan Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013
Are you going to draw the Mexican Brachiosaur soon?
And when will it be officially named?
Why do you think it was able to survive so late?
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Not anytime soon. And apparently it's only known from one or more caudals. A description isn't even on the radar. Why it survived so late? Because some lineages were just that much more adaptable than others. Brachiosauridae appears to be a very successful group that held on in many areas long after other families died off. A few brachiosaurs even developed narrower and sharper teeth in convergence with titanosaurs during the cretaceous. This is definitely an adaptation to new plant types taking over the forests.
(1 Reply)
DeinonychusEmpire Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, that's a very slender sauropod.
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December 1, 2013
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