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Submitted on
May 5, 2012
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Lusotitan atalaiensis hi-fi skeletal by Paleo-King Lusotitan atalaiensis hi-fi skeletal by Paleo-King
Lusotitan atalaiensis

Etymology: Lusitanian (Portuguese) lizard from Atalaia
Family: Brachiosauridae (intermediate position)
Time: Late Jurassic, Kimmeridgian-Tithonian epochs, ~150 mya
Location: Lourinhã, Portugal

*Now HEAVILY revised and re-scaled based on Mannion, et. al. 2013*


Lusotitan atalaiensis, the Portuguese brachiosaur, formerly classified as a species of Brachiosaurus.

Actually there is at least one other Portuguese brachiosaur known……, but it's a good deal smaller and known from a complete arm, whereas Lusotitan is known from no complete body segments.

Lusotitan is a large brachiosaur, though this most recent revision shows it's not the supergiant once thought - at least not the sole individual known, which was not full grown. It's slightly smaller than the teenage Giraffatitan HMN SII.  Its tibiae are more robust and expanded at both ends than those of Giraffatitan. However, its tail is significantly larger, which may reflect a different defense strategy. Although the humeri are incomplete, their proximal portions indicate bones of huge size, even by typical brachiosaur proportions. As the biggest animal in the Lourinhã formation, Lusotitan would have truly been an imposing presence on the the floodplains of Late Jurassic Europe. Maximum size, as with Giraffatitan, is unknown, but may have been around 15-20% bigger than the type specimen.

This is the first ever detailed skeletal of Lusotitan compiled from data based on the actual fossil remains. Speculative portions are restored after Giraffatitan, with some modifications based on various European brachiosaur taxa (head, neck, dorsals, etc.). Some of these taxa are highly confused, such as the case of Ornithopsis eucamerotus/Eucamerotus foxi/Bothriospondylus magnus. Generally these European forms have dorsal neural spines more vertical than in Giraffatitan and more slender than in Brachiosaurus, so it may be inferred that Lusotitan had a similar morphology.


A.F. de Lapparent & G. Zbyszewski, 1957, "Les dinosauriens du Portugal", Mémoires des Services Géologiques du Portugal, nouvelle série 2: 1-63

Antunes, Miguel; Mateus, Octavio (2003). "Dinosaurs of Portugal". Comptes Rendus Palevol 2 (1): 77–95.

Mannion, P. D., Upchurch P., Barnes R. N., & Mateus O. (2013). "Osteology of the Late Jurassic Portuguese sauropod dinosaur Lusotitan atalaiensis (Macronaria) and the evolutionary history of basal titanosauriforms." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 1-109.
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Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That's one compact body!
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, it's a lot more compact that I had expected. There's only one dorsal centrum known, but it's a very short one, and brachiosaurs generally don't show radical changes in dorsal centrum length the way titanosaurs sometimes do. The excellent scale photos in Manntion et. al. (2013) basically forced me to take a second look at Lusotitan and it turned out I'd gotten nearly everything wrong with the previous version of the skeletal. It's smaller, more compact, but with a bigger tail. The proportions now are all based on the paper (before this, there really were no good photos of the material available so the first version of the skeletal was very speculative anyway).
DiNoDrAwEr Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
What is the estimated total length of an adult Lusotitan?
In your description you mentioned this to be the reconstruction of a subadult specimen... ;)
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That's just the thing, this IS the only specimen. I don't know how big an adult Lusotitan is. My best guess would be about 15% larger than this lectotype. But there's no reason to take that as an upper limit - not even a weak reason like we have with Giraffatitan HMN XV2, which may still not be fully grown, as there's no shoulder material for that specimen. Even astoundingly gigantic brachiosaurs like the type specimens of Fusuisaurus and "Brachiosaurus" nougaredi are still unlikely to be the biggest individuals of their species. "B."nougaredi is known from a rather slender and lightly built sacrum, this may be a subadult animal too, despite being 50-60% longer than Giraffatitan HMN SII (assuming similar proportions and the sacral proportions of SII scaled up from HMN Aa). So it was probably 120ft. long, and still rather slender for its size.

Imagine a 150-foot long brachiosaur, it's not all that crazy when you think about it. A giant titanosaur (or possibly a basal titanosauriform) femur has popped up in France, 2.2m long, and another one reported to be 2.6m. Perhaps there were giant brachiosaurs too, we just have yet to find them.
DiNoDrAwEr Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
That's really impressive!

But what if there is no fully grown individual, if they grew their whole life long?
Perhaps we will never know exactly... :(
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
True, that's possible. It does appear from some species that growth slowed down after adulthood but continued at a slower rate. But by full grown I mean ontogenic maturity, which is when the suture in the scapulacoracoid is completely fused over. Sexual maturity probably takes place quite a bit earlier, especially in female sauropods. Some "teenage" saltasaurids that are far from maximum size show "egg laying bone" microstructure in their long bones.
thedinorocker Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
Love this Euopean Brachiosaur, compliment for you work, I m glad Someone restore accurately the "forgotten giants" !
Caprisaurus Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
Are the darker parts supposed to be fossils not found yet or is that those parts are in the making?
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
The shaded bones are the parts that have not been found. So as you can see some of the existing fossils are actually broken parts, not the entire bone (like the scapula and the ilium).
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Professional General Artist
Excellent work!

Re: Sauropseidon...I keep getting this vision of a super long neck walking around on four tiny legs, for all the world like a giraffapuppy looking for its mama! :rofl:

I look forward to yer Sauropseidon skeletal!
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