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Any questions about why "Toroceratops" theory is not valid should be directed here. If you want to know more about it, just read this and if you have questions about Toroceratops or Jack Horner's other hyper-lump theories, comment here - it's a lot easier and less messy than asking me about it in the main page comments.

Q: I have heard that the Jack Horner theory about Torosaurus being nothing more than old individuals of Triceratops is getting a lot of pushback. Paleo King, what are your views on the theory, and what does the evidence actually say?

A: They are arm-waving. Horner actually has a pattern of doing this, it isn't the first time. Remember the “obligate scavenger T. rex”? Every piece of evidence Bakker, Currie, Weishampel, etc. looked at, Horner basically ignored or dismissed or even denied – even things as basic as eye socket shape – just to preserve his precious theory. Later Horner confessed that he “never liked T. rex anyway” (he was always primarily a duckbill specialist, whose best work was with the Maiasaura nests) and never took the “100% scavenger idea” seriously, he simply went on TV and made these claims because he wanted to stir debate and knock T. rex down a few pegs. But making an argument you know is weak simply to stir debate, is the most unproductive sort of debate there is. Paleo-trolling before there were tumblr and buzzfeed.
You'd think his fans would have learned from that whole fiasco. Most of them don't even know it happened. Score? Hornerite groupies: 0. Horner: 1 Horner Triggered

As for the “Toroceratops” theory – although Horner (but moreso his former student John Scannella) actually published academic papers and piling up skulls on this new idea, unlike with the scevenging T. rex theory, the line of argument in the papers is hardly any stronger, and the piles of Triceratops and Torosaurus skulls he cites as proof, do not actually support his claims. The theory basically runs like this: Triceratops and Torosaurus are found in the same rock layers and general region, they look very similar, both have metaplastic bone in their frills indicating bone remodelling, hence “obviously” one must be a growth stage of the other. Except that there's no real conclusive proof for that argument. The fossil evidence in their papers is either circumstantial or not in support of their theory, and some of it is even heavily altered with plaster. The make conclusions about the skulls, which the skulls themselves actually contradict! Same can be said for much of their Pachy-stygi-dracorex theory, which makes a ton of assumptions based on casts, stress fractures, and artifacts of preservation rather than native features of the fossils, as well as for Fowler's "Haplo-Suuwa-Bronto-Diplodocus" faux-pas, where downright bizarre fictions like "weighted characters" and "selective parsimony" had to be invented to turn sauropods that are clearly NOT diplodocids into good little juvenile diplodocids (just ignore the fact that Haplocanthosaurus is also known from non-bifurcated adult neck remains too, right?).

There's no way to prove that Torosaurus was simply an old adult Triceratops. There are some VERY irreconcilable differences and between the two, and some gaping holes and assumptions in their hypothesis - even if you use ontogeny to "rationalize away" some of the variation. How Jack Horner and his team can hope to bridge these holes in their theory, I honestly have no clue:

1. The changes required are too radical for an animal that is no longer juvenile and has no growing left to do in the postcrania. Such an extreme and late change in facial geometry is unknown in any ceratopsid.

2. Torosaurus is far rarer than Triceratops, too rare to simply be the same animal a few years older. 90% of Hell Creek's large herbivores are Triceratops, Torosaurus forms less than 1%. Some may argue that this is only because few herbivores survived to old age, or that older individuals were more vulnerable to be eaten rather than fossilized – but this is pure speculation, and reason # 4 forces us to discard this idea.

3. Torosaurus has many more epoccipitals than Triceratops - and not only that, their numbers are far more variable in Torosaurus (from 30 to 37), while Triceratops always has exactly 17 (except in elderly skulls where they are reabsorbed). Scannella at SVP claimed that "perhaps Triceratops split their epoccipitals in half to double the number" - something that I can only guess was tongue-in-cheek, since there is no specimen showing evidence for such "stud splits" in either Triceratops, Torosaurus, or any other ceratopsid, much less any dinosaur, period. It sounds even more ridiculous when you realize that Triceratops actually LOST frill studs as it aged, it didn't add new ones. Those near the bottom of the frill tended to disappear first, and in the most mature Triceratops skulls, all of them are gone. To add new frill studs would be a reversal of the entire Triceratops aging process.

4. Torosaurus has never been found in association with Triceratops. If they were simply aged Triceratops, they would realistically be found in the same herds/locations at least some of the time, especially if they were weaker than young adult Triceratops and needed the protection. This association has never been known to occur for Torosaurus. You just don't find them at the same dig sites as Triceratops.

5. Different head/body proportions, even discounting the frill. The Milwaukee specimen of Torosaurus [link] has larger skull (including jugals) than Triceratops, but much smaller postcrania. Doesn't make sense why an adult animal's individual bones would be smaller than those of a "juvenile". Of course Horner doesn't specify if his 30-footers are really juvenile Triceratops or middle-aged adults, he just claims Torosaurus are "old adults". Ok whatever.

6. Torosaurus is actually smaller than Triceratops. As in, the entire body except for the head, is smaller – every bone is smaller than in the most mature Triceratops. How can an “adult” of one species have a smaller body than the “young”, and even smaller limb bones, ribs, and vertebrae? (every postcranial element from Torosaurus indicates an animal 24 ft. long, not 30 ft. as in the most mature Triceratops skeletons! I know humans and some animals lose height as they age due to cartilage contraction, but shrink the femur, the ribs and the humerus? SERIOUSLY? These parts don't even have any metaplastic bone in Torosaurus, nor do they show any proof of bone reabsorption!)

7. Horner and Scannella have never done a histological age analysis on Torosaurus postcrania to actually prove that they are any older than the biggest accepted Triceratops specimens. This would be far easier than guessing age from the skulls, since as mentioned above, postcrania do not typically feature metaplastic bone or remodeling. Not that being older would actually prove that they're old Triceratops per se, but it would at least remove one huge logical impediment that stands in the way of Horner's theory being more accepted – on the other hand, a young age for these bones would nuke it.

8. Beak shape in complete skulls is radically different - Triceratops had a strongly hooked, recurved "eagle" beak, while Torosaurus has a much less curved "condor" beak that slopes downwards and forwards, the traditional Chasmosaurine beak design. The sloping “condor” beak is also present in Eotriceratops, which is otherwise far closer to Triceratops proportions than to Torosaurus – putting even more taxonomic space between them.

9. Nasal horn position (and snout/beak length ratio) differs between Torosaurus and triceratops. Torosaurus has shorter post-nasal-horn snout and a longer beak. No ceratopsian is known to radically change beak shape or beak/snout ratios when reaching maturity.

10. Even in very old Triceratops, Torosaurus-like features are extremely rare. The only Triceratops specimen that shows even remotely Torosaurus-like snout proportions and horns is the Torrington skull [link] , which is a very old adult with reabsorbed frill studs but NO fenestrae in the frill! This may be the most basal Triceratops morph, close to a fork with Torosaurus. Even so, the beak curvature is still not identical to Torosaurus.

11. There appears to be ontogenic variation within Torosaurus itself! [link] The Yale specimen, the MOR specimens, the Denver specimen and others all show a great deal of variation in epoccipital reabsorption and horn curvature - indicating that Torosaurus a unique creature that underwent ontogenic changes and growth stages of its own, and not merely a “final phase” of Triceratops.

12. There are other ceratopsids even closer to Triceratops (like Eotriceratops, Nedoceratops, and Ojoceratops) that don't fit comfortably in any part of Horner's ontogeny sequence. Nedoceratops is the real wild card, as Horner and Scannella claim it as proof of the Trikes aging into Toros - but while it has a few things in common with both, it fails dismally as a "midlife crisis" stage between the two, since it has a very odd mix of features that, taken together, make no sense in a Triceratops growth series. They are only found individually in Triceratops of completely contradictory age groups, and most of them are not found in Torosaurus at all. Nedoceratops has a very "perky" high horn angle completely inconsistent with the forward curvature of the horns themselves as well as the skull's advanced ontogeny, if one were following Horner's theory [link] to its logical conclusions. Its horns curve like an old Trike, but their bases are angled up and back like a baby Trike. It beak roughly follows Torosaurus (almost nothing else on its face does) and Eotriceratops, but is shorter than in either, and its frill is essentially a more compact version of Eotriceratops - far shorter and more compact than a Toro frill, yet obviously also older than many Toro frills, judging by its heavily reabsorbed epoccipitals. Its squamosals don't look like anything known in either Triceratops or Torosaurus. Horner and Scannella's nomination of this skull as an ontogenic “transition” from Triceratops-morphs to Torosaurus-morphs is laughable. There isn't a hint of Torosaurus in its short frill length, low epoccipital count, or steep horn angle, and especially not in the squamosal. There is also a second, larger skull that appears to be Nedoceratops - CMN 8862, which was once labeled "Triceratops albertensis". It has the same "perky" horns and the same short, upcurved, very un-Toro-like squamosal. Clearly this animal had a different ontogeny pattern as it grew than either Triceratops or Torosaurus. It likely branched off from the family tree sometime after Torosaurus and before Eotriceratops.

13. Fake plaster fillers are misleading. The beak of the YPM Torosaurus skull, as well as the horn tips and rear frill of some Torosaurus skulls and most of the Milwaukee specimen skull have been incorrectly reconstructed to look like Triceratops. Also the MOR skulls have a huge nasal boss in place of a horn, which is not consistent with anything seen in Triceratops, least of all the beak structure. It's actually a bit shocking how the most commonly pictured Torosaurus skulls have FAKE BEAKS and FAKE skull fullers in general that are modeled on Triceratops skulls, rather than more complete Torosaurus skulls - GetAwayTrike faithfully reproduces both the complete skulls and the fragmentary ones with fake Triceratops-mimic plaster fillers (recurved eagle beaks, short snouts, etc.), the differences are often extreme. Of course some of this error was probably due to lack of access to all the Torosaurus material, and earlier date of discovery/preparation with some specimens, but still... most of what you may THINK are correct Torosaurus orbital, snout, and beak features, are FAKE. Those that have a mostly complete beak, like ANSP 15192 and the far larger MOR 981, show a VERY different beak structure than in mature Triceratops.

14. The degree of cranial variation between Triceratops and Torosaurus is greater than that between many closely related modern bird, reptile, and mammal genera. Take antelopes as an example: ignoring the keratin horn sheaths, the actual skeletons and skulls that can fossilize are VERY hard to tell apart. There is hardly any cranial variation comparable to that between Triceratops and Torosaurus. Are we then to conclude that the Gemsbok is simply an immature Eland, or that the Springbok is an ontogenic stage of the Thompson's Gazelle? A better case could be made for using Horner's lumpery on these, than on Torosaurus, even though we clearly know these animals are not growth stages of each other. Impalas don't turn into Heartebeest, even though their bodies are basically the same design on different scales! There's a lot of diversity even in unhealthy human-damaged ecosystems. So even if the Maastrichtian faunas of the Rockies were doing badly in terms of diversity, it's doubtful that triceratops was the ONLY horned dinosaur there. The presence of Ojoceratops, Tatankaceratops, Eotriceratops, all of which are more Triceratops-like than Toro, further confirms this.

15. The raw morphometric data does not support lumping them. Farke, et. al. (2013) determined the changes required to "age" a Triceratops into a Torosaurus to be UNPRECEDENTED among ceratopsids, requiring addition of epoccipitals (frill studs), reversion of bone texture from adult to immature back to adult, and unusually late growth of holes in the frill. The Torosaurus specimens cluster together, separate from the Triceratops cluster on the morphometric plot.

16. Torosaurus has its own immature specimens. These, such as the ANSP skull, have a shorter and more upcurved frill that had yet to fully flatten out, and their beak shape, horn angle, and fenestrated frills are still clearly distinct from Triceratops of the same growth stage (or any growth stage for that matter). It's not so easy to claim that Torosaurus is the mature form of Triceratops, when it has its own juvenile specimens that are clearly NOT Triceratops. They even have high frill stud counts, just like the Torosaurus adults. Clearly these animals did not closely resemble Triceratops, even when less than half-grown.

17. Large parts of their ranges do not overlap. Juvenile Torosaurus were found in Big Bend National Park, Texas, which is conspicuously devoid of Triceratops material - though Ojoceratops is present in nearby New Mexico – a compact, short-faced and short-frilled animal, almost as different from Torosaurus as it is possible for a derived chasmosaurine to be. Ceratopsid faunas, it seems, were far more diverse than the plain one-genus badlands Horner would prefer them to be.

18. Many large Torosaurus are less mature than the most mature Triceratops. Most of the Torosaurus skulls, including the largest ones, actually appear to be ontogenically LESS mature than the largest Triceratops skulls. This is true both in terms of epoccipital reabsorption and the amount of metaplastic bone. The MOR skulls in particular are gigantic, but clearly immature, having young, well-defined epoccipitals/epipareitals and relatively small fenestrae, which may mark them out as a unique new species within Torosaurus itself.

19. Torosaurus horns typically look more like teenage Triceratops than mature ones. The most complete Torosaurus skulls all have relatively slender and typically straight horns, and some have a slight double curve - not the thick robust forward-curving horns of mature Triceratops. In fact the closest thing to a Torosaurus brow horn among most Triceratops is adolescents or young adults of Triceratops which have barely attained the double curve stage: [link] let alone the strong forward curve stage of mature Triceratops horridus and prorsus:[link] [link] In order to actually turn the most mature Trikes into Toros, you would have to actually reverse the changes in their horns - undo the mature forward curve, re-lengthen and re-straighten them and in some cases even re-add the double curve found in younger Trikes - all while the postcrania mysteriously shrink by 25%! What a completely unnatural and pointless waste of metabolic processes and resources. And it doesn't happen in ANY other ceratopsid known to man.

So did mature Triceratops just straighten out their horns a SECOND time and make them longer and slimmer after having already absorbed the tips and thickened the bases [link] , reversing much of the normal Triceratops aging process, all to become Torosaurus? I doubt it. There's no "Benjamin Buttonceratops" in Hell Creek, we're simply looking at two genera where the ontogeny changes worked differently.

20. Mature Triceratops specimens actually appear to be shortening the frill, not lengthening it. This goes along with the fact that they were reabsorbing and in some cases losing frill studs, not growing extra ones. The frills of many old Triceratops skulls are, if anything, receding. This is especially the case with T. prorsus, but it appears in some old T. horridus skulls as well. MOR 004 (prorsus), SMNH P1163.4 (prorsus), TCM 2001.93.1 (horridus), and several others, have the forward-curved horns and reabsorbed tips of old individuals, but the frill is moving in anything but a Torosaurus-like direction. If anything, it's proportionally shorter and more compact than in the less mature large Triceratops specimens with double-curved horns. Once again, just like with the horns and frill studs, lengthening the frill or growing new frill in these mature skulls would actually be a reversal of the normal Triceratops aging process up to that point. Some T. horridus individuals like UCMP 113697 do have a longer frill, but still lack the fenestrae of Torosaurus, and the epoccipitals are long gone, with no hint of them re-emerging and doubling in number to "become" a Torosaurus frill edge. You can check out some of these skulls here; the original drawing is by GetAwayTrike; please do note that this diagram isn't strictly Triceratops skulls, it also throws in the type skull of Nedoceratops and a referrable skull from the Scollard formation (which predates Hell Creek and true Triceratops), albeit with the missing snout restored like a Triceratops, and also includes Eotriceratops from the Horseshoe Canyon formation and Ojoceratops from Ojo Alamo.

The big picture beyond Horner and "Toroceratops": Why the "hyper-lumper" approach is probably WAY off-base

Considering how much we know about both mammalian and avian biodiversity in recent ages like the Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene, and also given how much less terrestrial fossil material of any sort inevitably survives over time from older epochs like the Maastrichtian (and even less from earlier times), it may actually make the most sense to say that dinosaur faunas were MORE diverse and had MORE genera and species than we can ever possibly know - likely far richer and more diverse than mammalian faunas today, perhaps even more so than Pliocene and Pleistocene faunas. We just don't have as complete a fossil record when you go back into the mesozoic. Even so, recent discoveries have more than doubled the number of maastrichtian ceratopsids known. We're well past the point of "only Trike and Toro" in the US/Canada Maastrichtian time horizon, and any proper morphometric character analysis will show that there are a number of evolutionary steps between Torosaurus and Triceratops, which form their own unique genera.

Nonetheless, the view is still far from complete. Some species have probably never had a single individual get fossilized, which isn't all that strange when warm-blooded species sometimes last for less than a million years. Or we may only get one skull from an entire genus, because geological processes may have jumbled the rock layers so much that we will never have access to more than that, either due to their destruction in these processes, or their being buried in inaccessible depths, with no surface hints of their presence. Now if that one skull happens to have some similarities with an already known genus, say, Triceratops (???), people will be tempted to gloss over the differences and lump it into Triceratops, even if some parts of it don't quite fit anywhere within known Triceratops populations and growth stages. But then, is it really an odd growth stage or an abnormal individual of Triceratops, or simply something else we don't properly understand yet? Then, when you actually find more growth stages and skulls of the new animal that show it's a unique genus with its own ontogeny pattern (like we now have with Torosaurus), what can you honestly say for a person who persists in denying its status as a separate genus or holding the clear differences to be one-off aberrations of no account? This might have been plausible when there were only one or two Torosaurus specimens known to science, but now there are over thirteen of them from different growth stages, and possibly comprising three different species (T. latus, T. utahensis, and "T. magnus", i.e. the MOR skulls). Insistence on lumping two genera together "because they both have metaplastic bone" really is pointless. As it is, metaplastic bone is not exclusive to any one genus or growth stage, and we're already over-lumping extinct specimens based on arbitrary standards that would make no sense to a biologist studying living animals. There is less difference between the skull morphs of cheetahs and jaguars than you get between Trike and Toro - but nobody is proposing to lump cheetahs and jaguars into the same genus - DNA cladistics finds no less than FOUR other cat genera separating them.

The same phenomenon of morphological similarity "masking" generic diversity is found all over the place, whether in Birds of Paradise or in the host of antelope genera that cannot hybridize but look nearly identical when you get rid of the keratin horn sheaths (which would not fossilize). Of course you can achieve high morphological diversity in skeletons without genetic diversity, but aside from artificial selection by humans (as in the case of dog breeds) and a few extreme cases of sexual dimorphism, it's extremely uncommon in any vertebrates. We don't have DNA from dinosaurs, but if morphometrics are any clue, dinosaur paleontologists are lumping at a generic level, far more than they would be if such DNA existed. I am not suggesting we go back to having 16 species of Triceratops like in the 1950s (some of which were nearly identical to each other, and some of which were actually other genera like Nedoceratops). But on the generic level, things are definitely overlumped - something that even a good non-DNA-dependent analysis like Tschopp et. al.'s diplodocoid paper can expose very well. If anything, the mainstream view of dinosaurs is actually already overlumped, even without Horner and Scannella's antics. As cladistic science gets more precise and uses more and better characters (and weeds out coding errors better), this is already becoming more apparent. Giraffatitan and Lusotitan are no longer part of Brachiosaurus. Galeamopus is no longer in Diplodocus. Traukutitan is no longer part of Epachthosaurus. Isisaurus is no longer in Titanosaurus. Brontosaurus - all 4 or 5 species of it - is no longer in the Apatosaurus wastebasket. It's an open secret that Mamenchisaurus and Omeisaurus between them currently contain around 10 other genera that should be spun off. And it should be obvious that not every ceratopsid with metaplastic bone is a growth stage of Triceratops. And of course, that Kosmoceratops is NOT a juvenile Utahceratops (what happened in Vegas... lol).

Do we really believe that metaplastic bone only exists in one species, or in just one ontogenic stage for any given species? Heck, even if Trike and Toro had identical ontogenic changes in horn and frill shape as they matured, or even if one's ontogeny pattern appeared to neatly transition into the other's (they don't, not even close), the fact that they both have metaplastic bone throughout multiple growth stages proves NOTHING conclusive in favor of lumping the two together. At best, even if the ontogeny changes matched or appeared to dovetail, and even if we didn't have inconvenient things like the ANSP skull or the Big Bend Toro juveniles to sour the deal for the Hornerites, it's still possible that these could be no more than two related genera with similar growth patterns. Even very old ceratopsids have metaplastic bone in their skulls, it's not proof of immaturity or an upcoming radical change in head shape - and even then, you could probably make a far better (though still wrong) morphological case for lumping Eotriceratops or Ojoceratops into Triceratops (despite the geographic and time discrepancy) long before you get to Torosaurus. In many cases the metaplastic bone may have nothing to do with age, and far more to do with rapidly healing injuries and getting rid of infection (bone cells that naturally die rapidly and are replaced by new ones from below in a constant conveyor-belt cycle, are far less susceptible to infection - and we know these animals, with their vein-engorged frill bones, were just as susceptible to injury and possible infection from each other's horns as from a tyrannosaur bite to the face). Many of the irregular holes in "pathological" ceratopsid skulls of various genera and ages are bordered by metaplastic bone, did they ever stop and think what the connection was there? There's definitely a paper in that. So there are a lot more plausible alternate reasons for metaplasia that Horner and co. don't even address. Is their "Toroceratops" theory still possible? Sure, but the amount of contortion (both osteological and rhetorical) required merely to make it work also violates Occam's razor repeatedly. You'd literally have to ignore everything they didn't figure in their papers (even when they mentioned an inconvenient specimen in passing) and also ignore how ontogeny works in every other well-represented ceratopsid.

Flame away, groupies! It'll be a long line. :D  Horner Triggered Horner Triggered Horner Triggered Horner Triggered Horner Triggered   You want more details on Horner's lumpermania with Pachycephalosaurs too? Find it here and here

Earlier you may have heard of a truly colossal sauropod species known as the French Monster. First it appeared to be a titanosaur, though now it looks to be a basal somphospondyl, along the same lines as Chubutisaurus and Paluxysaurus.

It's a massive creature no doubt, but one thing severely lacking from the announcements of the finds several years ago (besides a description paper and a name!) was a set of proper measurements for the bones. We do have some good pics though, from the dig site in Angeac-Charente, which is apparently wine country. It's tempting to think that fossil-rich soils make for top-quality grapes... lots of minerals there. And tannins... look at how dark those bones are, surely from all the tannins, it must be. Most significant were two femurs from different individuals, one of which was well-photographed and appeared to be about 2.2m long, the other being considerably larger. Below you see the smaller one:

Photos of the larger femur, estimated at 2.6m, did not materialize. However there were some rare glimpses of other gigantic bits.

Some of the biggest caudal vertebrae ever found, and quite possibly the biggest toe bone ever found (the darker bone near the center).

Then we have this gem, which it the lower end of either a tibia or a very worn-down femur. Again, huge.

The foot claws are just enormous. This one is as big as a sewing machine.

One toe bone from this sauropod (right) is more massive than the whole femur of a theropod found at the same site (left).

There are also some teeth from the site, with the same black mineralization as the first femur, and encrusted with some sort of comglomerate. They look similar to brachiosaur teeth, which is not surprising given that the unique features of the femur put it closest to the Chubutisauridae, which are only a couple steps removed from brachiosaurs.

We also know that a cast was made of the 2.2m femur. For some years, little more was known.

Gunnar Bivens gave me this link to some sources:… which include information on the French Monster. Not only do they verify the size of the 2.2m femur known, as well as the other materials, but they also verify the estimate of the larger femur at 2.6m long when complete - surpassing the femur of Argentinosaurus.

Given that the French Monster appears to cluster closest to Paluxysaurus and Sauroposeidon and shares several diagnostic femur features in common with both of them (there is a juvenile Cloverly Formation femur from the latter), a good place to start when scaling the French Monster is the already existing Paluxysaurus skeletal from Steve O'Connor:

Assuming you use the Paluxysaurus proportions as seen here, and a GDI based on the mounted skeleton, the "adult" Sauroposeidon from Oklahoma would scale up to 26.9m 47.5 tonnes, as per Franoys. The same model yields dimensions for the two French Monster specimens known from the 2.2m and 2.6m femurs at [28.5m and 56.5 tonnes] and [33.5m and 85 tonnes] respectively. Yes, I said 85 tonnes. That's up in Argentinosaurus territory, and for a dinosaur that almost certainly had a slimmer rib cage - which would require it to be a hugely tall animal, and in lateral view its slimmer torso would actually have to look bigger and deeper than that of Argentinosaurus to get the same volume and mass.

Those are impressive sizes. Though I suspect they may be a bit conservative, as it's unlikely that an adult Sauroposeidon had the same proportions as Paluxysaurus (though the juvenile Cloverly Sauroposeidons apparently did). I would expect more elongation in the neck and tail for the "adult" Sauroposeidon, and the four cervicals we have were likely not the longest ones in the neck. Similarly, the French monster would likely top those estimates based on likely neck elongation assuming its juvenile form was something like the juvenile Sauroposeidons from Cloverly.

I would estimate Sauroposeidon somewhere around 28-30m, and the two French Monsters known from femurs at around 33m and 36m respectively. But even these aren't the biggest specimens of the French Monster. The real whopper stretches the limits of credibility. There is a huge rib pictured on one of those French websites that's AT LEAST as long as 4 people!… Am I seeing this right? This would have to be some kind of record breaker, even bigger than the larger femur specimen. Think about it - the larger ribs in a sauropod typically were in the same length range as the femur, a bit more when you account for their curve length. But if a sauropod's femur is 2.6m long, its unlikely that a 4m+ rib would come from the same specimen. So we have a third gigantic individual, which would have easily outclassed the other two.

DAAAAAAAMN that's a big rib. That's 5 people lying next to it, but the guy at the top may be next to a dorsal vertebra as the rib head seems to terminate further down. At the bottom, the end is broken off! So there was even more...

This is great news. Now we have a basal somphospondyl to rival Argentinosaurus. Even if you ignore the rib specimen and go based only on the individual that provided the larger of the two femurs, 33.5m and 85 tonnes (?!?) for a chubutisaur is no joke.

And that crazy-huge rib... that thing must be 6m long? Admittedly it's pretty flattened from millions of years of being buried under tons of rock, but even when uncrushed and in its natural curve, that's at least a 4m-deep rib cage in strictly linear side-view dimensions. I know there are a lot of issues with scaling sauropods off of just rib pieces, but keep in mind, this rib looks to be 6m long and is still missing the bottom end! So conservatively at 4m uncrushed and articulated, what does that come out to, a 112 foot or 36m animal using my B. alithorax as a model (it has a similarly long torso), but the neck would be a lot longer in Sauroposeidon or the French Monster...

... so using Steve O'Connor's Paluxysaurus skeletal is a better model (more elongated neck plus proportionally shallower ribcage), then we have a total length/longest rib length ratio of 10.24, so we get a 41m animal! This means it's about 1.22 times the length of Franoys' estimate for the larger femur specimen (remember, that's still a conservative estimate). Cubing that for all 3 dimensions, we get 1.81 times the volume of that specimen, and thus 1.51 times the mass.  = 154 tonnes. THIS IS INSANE! The Oklahoma apatosaur and the newly legendary BYU Barosaurus specimens might as well roll up and cry. Move over, boring diplodocid fern-slugs. Macronarians have the crown once again!

Folks, we may have the biggest dinosaur ever here. I'm not claiming it "must" be 154 tonnes, it may not be much more than 100-110 tonnes depending on how these animals grew allometrically. But that's still in Puertasaurus/Mexican Alamosaurus/biggest individual of Chubut Monster territory. And the 41m length exceeds all of these animals, and is still only based on using the Paluxysaurus skeletal as a model, still ignoring how much distal material is missing from the rib, and still scaling up from Franoys' conservative estimate for the larger French Monster Femur. With better photos we may be able to bring down the size, but for now... WOW. 41m and possibly in excess of McNeill Alexander's (flawed) "upper limit" for sauropod masses. I'm not joking, this could be the find of the century.

At least one
of these French Monsters is a real record crusher, probably the individual with that huge rib (assuming it's not a petrified tree, which is unlikely given all the attention it's getting from the dig team in that photo, plus its apparently rib-like proximal end and close proximity to an obvious distal rib fragment next door). There are no pictures of the rib fully prepared, or of the 2.6m femur. But we know how to scale them so I'm confident this animal could have gotten bigger than Argentinosaurus and perhaps even any of the other mega-titanosaurs.

For now here is an image of a museum display for the smallest of the three French Monster specimens examined here, the 2.2m complete femur, with a fibula from the same individual. Even this animal is huge, and it's dwarfed by the two bigger ones. And chubutisaurs actually had a pretty low femur-to-body length ratio, which means they outclassed most sauropods in total body length, for any given femur size.

And now imagine one twice this size, with that 4m rib... just to keep one thing in mind, a 4m rib also blows the ribs of Supersaurus (the prior record-holder for deepest ribcage), the Potter Creek brachiosaur, and "Huanghetitan" ruyangensis clear out of the ballpark. Using Paluxysaurus neck proportions, the giant rib individual also would have beat out Supersaurus, Daxiatitan, Yunmenglong, and "Mamenchisaurus" sinocanadorum for neck length (and obviously Sauroposeidon as well). And a 4m rib is a conservative estimate for that photograph, not accounting for the broken lower end! You have not even begun to see the biggest dinosaurs, it seems to say.

Was the French Monster the biggest? Did some individuals of the mega-titanosaurs get larger? Dump your comments below, but now I think you're pretty clear on where I stand. There are already plenty of pics here for the limb and tail parts of smaller individuals, which are unquestionably already in super-sauropod range. Unless that rib turns out to be anything other than a rib (and if a rib that thick ends up being a cervical rib rather than a dorsal rib, that's even scarier), we are looking at the new biggest dinosaur. Full stop.

I am working through some revamps to the earlier skeletals I have on here. Obviously Giraffatitan got a HUGE revamp with multi-views. The revised Andesaurus also got redone yet again a while back.

I just redid the Brachiosaurus skeletal too, fixed the skull - again.

Also on the workbench are Argentinosaurus, Paralititan, and of course Futalongkosaurus (actually quite far along on that one). Elaltitan will get its own skeletal, with more accurate proportions, and get bumped off the Argyrosaurus page - eventually.

Now revising old skeletals is all fun and good, but you might wonder, why not get it right the first time? Simple answer: lack of good photos/published diagrams to work from. As more images from better angles become available, we discover errors in old skeletals. With Giraffatitan, I didn't have access to the full Janensch papers for years after I did the first version. With Argentinosaurus and Paralititan, there are still very few good photos available of most of the bones with decent lighting and angles, and the description papers left out a lot of visual data. And of course with Futalognkosaurus there is still no final word on the actual measurements, proportions, or any literature on the two juvenile specimens and other referred material such as an allegedly complete tail for the holotype and an egg which may also be from Futalognkosaurus - there are only a couple informal photos and scant textual mention of these remains. Sadly, many titanosaur species are better viewed from amateur tourist photos on Pinterest or Instagram, than from anything published by actual scientists in the literature. Very few of them are visual thinkers, and fewer still bother to take photos of the stuff they work on (despite having smartphones and facebook). In this regard, the SV-POW guys seem to be the rare exception to the visual apathy of much of the field.

The reason so much stuff needs revision is that we can't be everywhere at once, and the people who are in the museums, rarely take or publish any good multi-view images of the fossils. You work with what you have (often times little more than amateur snapshots from bad angles), and when the guesswork to fill the gaps turns out to be wrong, you revise it. Or, you can just stick to doing skeletals of super-boring species that have been done to death with hundreds of hi-fi photos or diagrams from nose to tail, like Kaatedocus and Diplodocus. :XD: Anything that's actually interesting and not just another vanilla Diplodocus, Apatosaurus or Camarasaurus cousin, seems to always be horribly photographed, horribly mismeasured, or horribly restored (with plaster or otherwise), and stays that way for years or decades. Aside from things which are apparently still undergoing research, such as the French Monster and the Chubut Monster, earlier crucial finds are either locked behind paywalls, ignored/abandoned by science, or both.

* Argentinosaurus
- no multiview photos of the femurs, fibula, or hip material.
* "Antarctosaurus" giganteus - no multiview pics of anything in any paper.
* Paralititan
- no published photos of anything, and no casts of it besides the humerus. Did I mention the description was literally just one page long?!
* Futalognkosaurus
- 3 papers and still not a single consistent set of measurements or evaluation of referred specimens - and a terrible mishmash mount at the Royal Ontario Museum with Rapetosaurus head, Big Bend 'Alamosaurus' neck and scaled-up North Horn Alamosaurus caudals - contains almost NOTHING from Futa itself except a cast of the hips, despite consulting them on it they did not follow my advice.
* Dreadnoughtus - actually a decent paper, but very few published photos in multiview, and they are much lower resolution than the informal and press photos you can find on the internet (all from horrible angles) -at least they included a very nice 3d model though, which nobody else ever did with a titanosaur.
* Notocolossus - for once some good hi-fi photos, just scarce material.
* Puertasaurus
- decent drawings of the dorsal and photos of the cervical - but no images at all on the two caudals mentioned in the description - that's fully 50% of the holotype that may as well not exist!
* The Monster of Museo de La Plata - back in 1988 Greg Paul mentioned a huge though incomplete femur at the MLP which seemingly outclassed any dinosaur femur known at the time (this was before Argentinosaurus, but apparently bigger than "Antarctosaurus" giganteus). No catalog number was mentioned, and no photos or description were ever published.
* Fusuisaurus - basically you can count all the photos of the type specimen on your fingers. I know there isn't a lot of material, but there's literally only one or two grainy black-and-white pics per bone, and several of the bones mentioned in the paper have no photos at all. And before seeing any of it you have to pay $38 to multinational publishing cartel Wiley. For 4 pages and 7 awful photos.
* "Mamenchisaurus" sinocanadorum - first, there are photos of a full skeleton mount in a museum in Tokyo. Then Greg Paul does a full skeletal and a mass estimate in total confidence and boldly claims this is the biggest dinosaur ever. And then... he claims the specimen only consists of a couple of neck bones, and only puts a silhouette in his 2nd edition of the Princeton Field Guide. Presto! The giant dinosaur has disappeared from scientific reality faster than a rabbit in a top hat. I don't doubt that it's real (the Tokyo mount honestly looks to be casted form something that's undergone a bit of crushing and erosion) but it's little more than a hugely hyped replica with no percentages for the actual fossil's completeness, and no museum catalog number. There is still NO scientific paper on this animal, even now.
* "Xinghesaurus" - same story as above, only this one is smaller, likely a titanosaur, and didn't even get a blindly done Greg Paul skeletal.
* "Liaoningtitan" - apparently a very large euhelopodid, restored and mounted in Liaoning Museum but never described or published. Still known from only a couple of grainy photos.
* "Huanghetitan" ruyangensis - there is apparently a lot of neck material from additional specimens but aside from a single vertebra, none of it has even been published or formally referred. The huge femur also has never been published. Good luck figuring out if there's any truth to the horribly short neck included in the museum mounts. It looks to be cast from something, we just don't know what, and it's almost certainly from an animal much smaller than the holotype. Oh well... at least Chinese paleontologists actually designate holotypes (despite omitting to mention a ton of material from ostensibly the same individuals in the description paper), which is more than I can say for many western scientists in the recent past (heck even Lusotitan is nothing but a pile of lectotypes, none of which takes precedence over the others).
* Ruyangosaurus - a few pics of the initial 6 bones described, but nothing other than crappy internet snapshots of all the other vertebrae, ribs, and possible sacral material that was never mentioned in the paper! Oh wait, there is a display of the dorsals in some sharper online photos (amateur tourist pics of course) - with horrible plaster work, incorrect ordering of the bones, and possibly extra bones from a separate individual thrown in just for the heck of it. When 90% of what's been seen of this animal is only known from tourist pics or grainy press photos of the digsite, and totally IGNORED in the actual published literature, you have a problem.
* Alamosaurus - aside from the Big Bend specimen, which may not be Alamosaurus after all, there are very few photos of any neck or dorsal material, including the remains that Lehman and Coulson's skeletals were based on. Only a handful of the juvenile vertebrae were illustrated in their paper 2001, which included no photos at all. There is a lot of material lying in museums that is usually assumed to be Alamosaurus, most of which has never been photographed. The gigantic remains referred by Fowler and Sullivan only have a few photos from a couple angles, and the biggest specimen, the fibula from Mexico, is basically only known from a measurement. That's it.
* "Brachiosaurus" nougaredi - two super-grainy and distorted photos of the giant sacrum "ZR.2" still in the ground back in the 1950s, then it's never seen or heard about again. It was only included in a large survey of Algerian fossils by Albert-Felix de Lapparent, who mentioned in passing: "in spite of its size and fragility we were able to recover this element and transport it back to Paris" - but he never mentioned just where in Paris. There was no subsequent research done on this enigmatic sacrum, and there isn't even a record of which museum it's in, or if it still exists at all.
* And of course Bruhathkayosaurus - where do we even begin with this thing. Two overhyped, under-productive government paleontologists in India dig up what they claim to be the biggest dinosaur ever known, and for 30 years they leave it in the ground, only take three extremely blurry black-and-white photos of the "bones", draw a baby-skill sketch of them that makes no anatomical sense, alternately claim it's a Godzilla-sized theropod, pachycephalosaur, and finally sauropod, and then a few years ago the thing just happens to conveniently "wash away in a monsoon flood" and nobody ever took a decent color photo of any of it. In over 30 years. If it was legit, you'd think these guys would be either writing a book on it or at least taking a pile of polaroids if they didn't have digital cameras, and mailing them to researchers abroad, at least do SOMETHING in all those 30 years.

Meanwhile we are for some reason up to our eyeballs in hi-fi photos and open-source papers on just about every vanilla "this one looks so much like the last one" Morrison diplodocid you can think of (except the ones that are still a bit unique, like Seismosaurus). But good luck finding anything verifiable on Ruyangosaurus, Fusuisaurus, Huanghetitan, or even the 30+ Brachiosaurus specimens besides the holotype and the Potter Creek one, without paying out the nose for a 6-page paper with a handful of crappy and possibly mis-scaled photos. The species that really matter for understanding the truly dark and murky parts of the Sauropod family tree, get horrible scientific coverage, if any at all. Meanwhile everything that looks like a Diplodocus clone gets the Red Carpet Treatment in full HD megapixel resolution.

There is probably an axiom here... the more interesting, gigantic, and taxonomically significant the species (for our understanding of sauropod evolution), the worse the photographic record and published literature on it tends to be - and the less work tenured professors (in general) can be bothered to do on any of it. Call it Sassani's Law.
It's hard to believe it's taken this long to slog through enough things to have time to think long and hard about this event a few years back. You may by now know of the antics of a certain Brian J. Ford, who publishes articles in pop-science mags claiming that dinosaurs "don't work" on land and had to be aquatic - a hollow theory that conclusively went extinct over 50 years ago in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary. Literally every one of Ford's beliefs was debunked by Bakker in The Dinosaur Heresies, and it's not as if Ford ever presents anything new that Bakker hadn't already covered and disproved. One wonders if he ever read the book!

Brian J. Ford is a "professional dilettante" when it comes to dinosaurs - and that's putting it lightly. He makes his money off of writing about things he has no understanding of, as if he is a trained expert. In 2012 he claimed that non-avian dinosaurs could only move around in shoulder-high water (hmm, lets see, no web-feet, stiff compact torsos, hardly any lateral flexibility in the torso, generally compact hands and feet for the most part, reduced 4th and 5th digits, stiffened tails in many lineages... not much in the way of "aquatic" there... Ford himself is the one drowning here, how the heck does he expect such purpose-designed landlubbers to take to water like a salamander?) In 2014 he held a lecture along the same lines. Essentially the entire Paleontology profession bit back and put this arm-waving huckster in his place… A big thank-you to Dr. Darren Naish for his articles in Scientific American exposing this bloke's ramblings.

However I am not here to rant about Ford's ignorance or his illogical jumping to baseless conclusions based on an arrested 1920s aquatic reptile fetish. Rather, I am calling attention to his blatant THEFT and ABUSE of my hard work.

This is the Fordster himself with what is now probably a VERY famous if not downright canonical image in the annals of sauropod-dom - the groundbreaking (though somewhat dated) 2009 "All Major Brachiosaurs with semi-Obligatory Sue the T. rex for scale in a single Parade" image. The artist was a younger and greener Paleo-King in his college days. Astoundingly despite its execution with a total lack of formal training in Paleo-Illustration, and hardly any access to the published papers for about half of these taxa, this micro-detailed miniature drawing was an instant darling of the caps and robes, was considered good enough for publication in a few journals - and wouldn't you know it, most of the dinosaurs in the image are still pretty accurate today, aside from the Volkheimeria and the Lapparentosaurus. Take a look:
  The Brachiosaur Parade by Paleo-King

Notice that Ford moved Sue down to the same elevation as the brachiosaurs and put a blue shading to represent his ideal "shoulder height" of water (which doesn't really match up to shoulder level on the really huge ones). Know what else is wrong with this picture? I never received a single email, blog comment, DA message, or anything of the sort from this buffoon. My signature is still on the damn thing even in Ford's manipulated version, and I never gave him permission for using this image, nor did he ever ask for it. I'm sure at least some of the people there at the talk must have thought that I was working together with him on this "aqua-dinos" project, or that I approved of this use of my work. I DO NOT APPROVE. I did not then and I do not now.

I do not approve of my work being used this way any more than I would approve of Kent Stevens or Roger Seymour using my brachiosaurs merely in order to mock them and laugh at the plausibility of vertical necks (and Seymour, at least, to his credit actually asked, so you can at least give him props for that, even though I turned down the offer). Indeed Ford is an order of magnitude worse, because he is not merely a catastrophist, but an out-and-out denialist of the past half-century of science. It's more along the lines of a Creationist co-opting my work and then having people believe that I must somehow endorse this sort of tomfoolery. I'm sure there are probably Creationists abusing my work in some dark corner of the blogosphere too, and there would be BANDits doing the same thing if any of it had involved maniraptors/birds. That does NOT mean I approve of it in the least.

In the spirit of the nobility with which I and several others of us among the Paleo-Art realm have confronted "Awesomebro" bastardizers and copyright thieves recently, I hereby denounce this conman and anyone who has anything to do with him or his so-called theories. It's bad enough that he used the image without permission; it's insult to injury when he manipulates it to argue a point that totally violates everything my art stands for. If he wants to argue pseudoscience, he can just use a picture of Barney... or at least Gertie (I'm sure the copyright on Gertie is long since expired by now!). Seriously, why even bother using the most accurate images/examples for the most ridiculous and off-base denialist dogmas? Do Flat-Earthers use globes? Do Creationists use Lilisternus? And yet he tries to wrap himself in a veneer of science.

Rarely are we this pointed in our criticism of a public lecturer... but judging by his actions, Brian J. Ford is not an honest lecturer. He is not a reputable scientist, nor a qualified professor of paleontology. He's not even a good amateur fan. His actions are those of a pathological liar, a pseudoscientific snake-oil peddler, and moreover, and an intellectual property THIEF who copies, alters (just barely), and uses copyrighted images without permission of the author and in ways which totally contradict and pervert the author's intent 180 degrees on its head (at least if he had literally flipped the dinosaurs upside down to show them drowning headfirst it might be a little funny, I can forgive a parody but not a bowdlerization). Now there are plenty of garden-variety fringe crazies trying to make a name for themselves by rewriting Paleontology in their own image and they don't get this kind of attention - but this one stole a copyrighted image of mine and the others didn't. It's been 3 years and I still haven't gotten that long-overdue email asking for permission to use it.

I hereby denounce this "Ford" and anyone who endorses him. I know it's long overdue, but better late than never. The image was used without my authorization and I was never contacted regarding its use. It is only regrettable I did not have time to respond sooner to this intellectual dishonesty. May any money he has pilfered from the gullible through his writings be a curse on him rather than a blessing, and likewise feel free to send your own curses down upon his head in whatever means as you so freely choose. Fluch und Unglück über der unverbesserlicher Lügner, Betrüger, Verräter und Räuber!
I just came across this little paper, not about any particular dinosaur species, but about Paleo-art itself.…

Although this came out a couple of years ago, it's still an interesting read. A survey (likely not a terribly scientific one, due to the small number of respondents) was sent to 115 paleontologists and "naturalists" (not sure how they defined that) in different countries, and apparently these are just the PhD professors in the field. This was carried out by a group (apparently in Spain) known as the Meeting of Early-Stage Researchers in Paleontology.

One of the questions asked is to name up to three paleo-artists whose work one recognizes. The results are on page 9 of the paper.

Interestingly Mauricio Antón got the most "recognitions" in the survey, 60 in total - apparently because he had illustrated papers for many of the scientists (Raúl Martín, in second place, got only 20 recognitions). I suspect this exponentially leading score may also be a bit biased, since Antón helped with the production of the paper, being among a few "special thanks" individuals who provided "bibliographic recommendations and for sharing their paleoartistic knowledge." Knight, Burian, and Zallinger rank high because they were the early pioneers of dinosaur art, so their age and niche exclusivity for so many decades did make them famous - but their work is woefully outdated now, and was far less scientific than it could have been, even in its own time (consider all of those dislocations), so it is odd why so many scientists would recognize their art as scientifically relevant in our time. Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was mentioned for some odd reason, even though he was less an artist than an exhibit builder, and his work is even more outdated. But more interesting still, was how few people mentioned some of the other "greats" in Paleo-Art. Andrey Atuchin, Felipe Elias, Dr. Robert Bakker (himself a prolific illustrator), Bob Nicholls, James Gurney of Dinotopia fame, William Stout, and Dr. Mark Witton all got only one (1) recognition each - from among over 115 respondents. And guess what - yours truly also got one. I was not part of this survey so I can at least say with total confidence that someone else "voted" for me. Also, some established artists of the pre-internet age who are still around, such as John Gurche and Mark Hallett, only got 2 votes, despite their work being in so many National Geographic issues.

Interestingly there was no mention by the respondents of Andrea Cau, Brian Franczak, Larry Felder, Donna Braginetz, Ely Kish (I sort of expected that), Michael Skrepnick, John Bindon, Fabio Pastori (good riddance) or Berislav Trcic. Skrepnick has illustrated papers as well as popular articles in NatGeo and elsewhere so his absence from the minds of paleontologists seems odd. Also Wayne Barlow wasn't mentioned, which I suppose makes sense as he never collaborated with paleontologists on anything more than a children's book, though his skill easily surpasses many of the people on the list. So technically (at least until somebody refutes this paper with a larger sample size - don't worry, I won't deny your conclusions or trash your reputation like a Hornerite) I am for the time being a more significant artist than any of these people. Shocking, I know.

The list is hardly a measure of skill (and there are some people on the list who have less skill than any of these names, or are complete unknowns to me) but it is a measure of the impact of one's work on the field, at least as can be gleaned from the paper's small sample size (seriously, they should do this survey at SVP meetings, they will get a lot more than 115 people giving their opinions). And now I am apparently just as important as Dr. Bob Bakker, the godfather of the Dinosaur Renaissance himself. And James Gurney, king of "dinosaurs meet steampunk before anyone knew about steampunk". And the digital Grand Master, Andrey Atuchin. All of whom got one point each. Yay.
If you are for some reason perplexed where I get the data for my dinosaur skeletals, I have a simple fix for that... read the description text.

It's all there. Not exactly a rocket-scientist level of comprehension. I cite every paper I used for reference and data. I'm not sure why this is such a mystery for some people. Perhaps it is because we are living in an age of instant electronic stimulation and media overload, where people no longer bother to read. But the references are not particularly long-winded. Perhaps it is because people have become so desensitized to reality as to live in a "post-truth" paradigm. But I think some individuals (and let's be clear, they are nothing more than that) are simply in denial and refuse to read. They act like I am keeping secrets. In reality, everything I can find out, I post. Keeping secrets about fossil evidence doesn't make a dime for me, so I have no reason to keep secrets.

Also if you are spewing unsavory comments behind my back, that only really means one thing - that I am relevant and you are jealous (and your fringe theories are probably questionable as well).
If you want to use it for reference or derivative works, just ask. Seriously, I don't bite... at least not when people actually have the common sense to ask me first.

It's not that hard. I've permitted many artists to use my work for reference when they had the common courtesy to ask the artist himself. And guess what? Since they were honest and respectful from the very start, many of them are now good friends of mine. In the financial services/real estate biz, they have a very useful rule-of-thumb for all rookie investors: "know before you owe".
Well in our case as artists, the equivalent maxim is "ask before using". And if you happen to forget that, then PLEASE pay attention here : either credit copyrighted work or take it down when notified by the original artist, whichever option the artist prefers.
Once you're notified, ignorance is no longer a valid excuse.

It's a simple rule for life, really. SHOW respect to GET respect.
If you truly like my work and want to use it, first ask if I'm okay with your proposed use of it.
If you can't even do that much, you're actually disrespecting both the artist and his work.

And when in doubt... assume that it IS copyrighted. That's exactly what I did for "Lunch Strikes Back" - I contacted the creator of the original work and got his permission before making my version. Had he withheld his permission I would NOT have gone ahead with my derivative version. And I gave him credit. So I make it no secret that I do indeed "practice what I preach".

  Lunch Strikes Back - FULL SIZE by Paleo-King

And when an artist notifies you that you are using their work without their permission, please take the hint. Don't be a "special snowflake" crybully who thinks he/she/it can "do no wrong". Don't act like you can fool me or fool other artists - we do actually know what our work looks like. Simply give us proper credit, or, if that is somehow too "wounding" to your "pride", then just do yourself and everyone else a colossal Puertasaurus-sized favor, and take down the image altogether. You really want respect from us? Don't escalate things when you KNOW you're in the wrong. Don't try to "justify" theft. Don't be a mendacious jerk-in-denial and ruin the art business (whatever niche you are in) for all the honest hardworking people out there. Don't be that loser.

In other words, don't be like the guy in this story:
Shout-Out to the Art Thief:iconasuma17: is pretty infamous among DeviantART especially with the paleoart community, but that's not the real cut in why I'm talking now. I find it completely disgusting he sells fanart on his DA shop. That's a complete breach of copyright laws and frankly a huge move of disrespect to the original artists. He needs to be stopped. He'll silence all opposition through a ban and will do the same on YouTube as Israel Barber. He's almost as bad as Volcanic-Harpy. His brand of hypocrisy and overall rudeness may be bad enough, but I can't stand someone who has to gall to make a penny off of someone else's work. We as a community can ban together and put a stop to art thievery one step at a time. Spread this journal and we can bring down this brute.

King out. Thank you for listening.
Last night the legendary boxer, 3 time world heavyweight champion, philanthropist, goodwill ambassador, tireless fighter for human freedom and dignity, and all around motivational giant, Muhammad Ali, passed away from complications of Parkinson's disease after battling the effects for 30 years. Let's take a few moments of silence to remember this man who started with so little and accomplished so much and against so many odds and obstacles despite all the boos and jeers of countless nameless, faceless doubters and detractors, and was an inspiration to so many millions worldwide, regardless of faith, color or creed. His courage, compassion, and honesty with all people will be deeply missed, especially in our time when cowardice, slander and finger-pointing seem to once again be becoming the stock-in-trade of the famous and influential. Farewell champ. You didn't just fight opponents in the ring, you fought bigotry, hypocrisy and oppression, and you won.

"I know where I am going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."

-Muhammad Ali
Check this out if you haven't already. This is just the cutest thing. Dr. Phil Currie kicks off 2016 with a description of a near-complete baby Chasmosaurus!

I remember Chasmosaurus with a lot of nostalgia. It was my favorite horned dinosaur growing up. In fact it was my second favorite dinosaur of any sort for a long time (after Giraffatitan of course, which was then known as "Brachiosaurus brancai"). The different species and horn configurations fascinated me no less than the endless variations in modern antelope horns, from the little nubs on C. belli to the longer studs on C. russelli, to the impressive upturned skewers of C. kaiseni (or Mojoceratops, if the two skulls are truly from the same species). The frill was large but simple, a rectangular shield framed with rows of basic epoccipital studs and a couple of pairs of larger studs at the corners. This genus was the namesake of its own subfamily, the classic "standard model" three-horned dinosaur by which all others were measured, most of which appear like some fancier variation of it. More of the "three-horns" in fact resemble Chasmosaurus than they do Triceratops. But there was never a baby specimen... until now.

Baby-chasmosaurus by Paleo-King

The strangest thing about this adorable dinosaur is how long the hindlimbs are compared to the body, particularly when you scale it up against an adult's proportions. While the arms are missing, there's a possibility that they were not unusually elongated relative to the adult proportions, which begs the question - were baby ceratopsids bipedal? This was after all the basal ceratopsian condition found in Leptoceratops and other protoceratopsids. There's already been some venturing (and illustration) of the theory of habitually bipedal running among baby sauropods, which makes a lot of sense (for the bottom-heavy diplodocids anyway - I don't really see Toni the Brachiosaurus doing too much of this). But there haven't been a lot of juvenile ceratopsid remains complete enough to do a biometric analysis of bipedal running and its feasibility. What do you think?  (BTW the paper is free to download, though being in the control of JVP's new masters Taylor and Francis, it's uncertain how long that will last. Get it while you can!)
... uninformed about basic manners and etiquette on the paleoblogosphere (or anywhere else online), here is a refresher. I am not a big fan of doing this, admittedly it's an unwelcome hassle, but once again, it seems, the faceless bullies are slinking out of the woodwork. Normally I would ignore them, but now there appears to be veritable army of anonymous re-posters picking fights with me on here and my blog as well as taking viral social media comments (which I have no control over) nearly to the level of outright blackmail. So here we are again.

First, read the BGRs. You can do whatever **** you want on your own blog, but if you comment here, for the love of all you hold dear, PLEASE do not do any of the things on that list.

Second, if you want me to respect you and your opinions, however they may diverge from mine, you must show respect. It's a good idea to adhere to the following BEST PRACTICES:

1. Don't make subjective statements about a person who is a total stranger to you (i.e. calling someone "arrogant" or "egotistical" or "evil" without having ever met them or heard them speak publicly on camera). Avoid adversarial or libelous statements which you would not wish to see applied to yourself.

2. Don't presume to know the personal views of one individual toward another individual if he has not expressed those view explicitly (i.e. falsely accusing one paleoartist of "hating" another).

3. Don't invent false accusations such as claiming X work was a "rip-off" of Y artist, when clearly you have no proof, and the proper attributions have long ago been made and credit given. Keep things professional.

4. Don't judge or twist a person's views today based on their views 5 years ago. This clearly proves you either can't read, or deliberately didn't bother to read their more recent statements.

5. Don't claim or imply that someone's opinions are baseless when you have not asked them about the rationale.

6. Don't ridicule that which is reasonable (i.e. the evidence-based view that "raptors" were feathered, but lightly enough to still be agile, aerodynamic predators and keep cool in hot climates, does not deserve ridicule). This also goes for any self-righteous crusaders that use terms like "heterodox" and "radical" to mean "intolerable" or "looney". I care nothing for labels of orthodox and heterodox, I only care for evidence and how rigorously it's interpreted, not merely "critically" but also laterally, without false dichotomies of "black and white" skewing conclusions or resulting in forced cherry-picking. And at the end of the day, do you really want to be that guy who resorts to an appeal to orthodoxy, like the old "cold-blooded or unacceptable" establishment that ridiculed Bakker's work by outright denialism, only to crawl into their shells a few years later when all sorts of fossils proved him right? Science is based on proof and reason, not political populism.

7. If you want to criticize, be willing to be criticized. Be open about your own identity, views, and body of work, and what - if anything - you have contributed. Criticizing a publicly known artist in a malicious and personally insulting way while hiding your own identity online, is a coward's game and not worthy of any respect.

8. Don't distort the views of researchers in your support (i.e. citing Mike Habib in support of fanatical insistence on ankle-attachment of pterosaur wings, when this is not, in fact, his position.) And whatever you do, DO NOT use photoshop to cut and paste letters and words into a person's mouth or make it look like they previously said/wrote something they did not say/write. In the real world that's called FORGERY.

9. And most importantly of all, DO NOT trash someone's reputation on social media. Artists do sell their work and do not appreciate attacks on their reputation which may do irrevocable harm to future commissions or business opportunities. You may think it's cute now, but it will come back to bite you, one way or another.
I have updated my Andesaurus image again, based on the research in Mannion and Calvo (2011). New restorations of arm material and ribs, and upgraded vertebrae, hips, tail, everything. Jorge Calvo himself was co-author (along with Argentina's "Godfather of Paleontology" Jose Bonaparte) of the original description paper for Andesaurus in 1991. So it's interested to see how his view of Andesaurus and its relatives has changed. One thing is sure, the new paper has MUCH more good visual material than the old one. Actual photographs of many of the bones, in high resolution, which uncover some major problems in the original drawings, and even more so those in Salgado and Calvo (1997) which illustrated an anterior caudal far too big (probably an error incurred through compiling such a large monochrome paper with such admittedly cheap, smoothed out line drawings). We end up with a shorter-tailed, higher-shouldered Andesaurus than before, which fits with its position as a basal titanosaur intermediate to euhelopodids/acrofornicans and intermediate titanosaurs like lognkosaurians. The tail is also considerably thinner than the isolated line drawings in Salgado and Calvo (1997) misled us to believe.

So that means with its smaller tail, Andesaurus is even smaller than previously estimated. Read it and weep, Dougal Dixon. :XD:
Dreadnoughtus schrani, or as I call it, Lacovara's titanosaur, is the newest giant on the block. Just described, after years of painstaking reconstruction and cementing thousands of fragments together. Not the biggest dinosaur, but still very impressive for its size and completeness.

Find out more on my blog here:…

And here's the announcement from Drexel U:…

And the paper itself:…

No matter whether you agree or disagree with the paper's conclusions, this is one cool beast. And one impressive name.
Post your thoughts below. What do you like about this find? Heck, what's not to like!
Abydosaurus and Lusotitan have been revised. Check them out:……

In the case of Abydosaurus, the changes required were relatively slight. For Lusotitan, they were far more radical, and resulted in a considerably smaller body size, but with a longer tail than before. This was a relatively long-tailed brachiosaur, but not an exceptionally huge one as previously thought. The head was also altered based on additional data from Europasaurus and referred Brachiosaurus sp. remains. Lusotitan was probably closer to the basal end of Brachiosauridae, somewhere between Europasaurus and Giraffatitan.
A few of my skeletals will be getting a substantial overhaul as I have come across piles of new data and material that demands a revision. Brachiosaurus… is already largely overhauled. Little did I know that the Smithsonian actually has multiple fragmentary specimens of Brachiosaurus that have never been put on display! Giraffatitan and Lusotitan are also on the list. You find new stuff in museum collections that fills in some gaps and basically your old stuff becomes outdated.

As Scott Hartman and a few others know personally, this is the real fun part of skeletals :XD:
Stop the presses. There is literally a new dinosaur on the block. Bigger than Argentinosaurus. Possibly bigger than even Puertasaurus, Ruyangosaurus and Alamosaurus. Everything you knew about upper size limits is wrong, and some of these new giants (yes, there's a whole herd of them found, in VERY good condition) have nearly 10-foot long femurs.

But rather than steal the thunder I will let the pictures do the talking. Check out my blog for much more detail:…

Femur Pablo by Paleo-King

Chubut Monster Dig Site5 by Paleo-KingDino-1 by Paleo-KingChubut Monster up close by Paleo-King

If you have been paying attention to something other than the disastrous performance of the Broncos in the Super Bowl, you may have heard rumors of this creature. It is by far the most bizarre titanosaur to come out of China (yes even stranger than Ruyangosaurus, Baotianmansaurus, or Dongbeititan).

The paper is phenomenal, and the work of two good friends of mine, grad student Liguo Li and professor Peter Dodson from UPenn, as well as You Hailou, the reigning master of Chinese sauropod research.

Yongjinglong datangi is a mid-sized titanosaur from the Hekou group of early cretaceous Gansu province (home of both Huanghetitan and Daxiatitan), with some of the strangest proportions ever seen. The most obvious fact is that the shoulder blade is HUGE, but also rather slender at the back end, and the coracoid isn't all that big. The crazy-elongate proportions of the shoulder blade are rivaled by only one other sauropod within titanosauria, and barely one or two others outside it. Even compared to the ridiculously elongated (and similarly small-coracoided) "Ultrasauros" shoulder blade of Jim Jensen fame, this thing is extreme. This animal must have had one of the proportionally deepest rib cages on record, but a relatively narrow chest by comparison. And no, it's not closely related to either Huanghetitan or Euhelopus, although there may be common-niche convergences there. The second bizarre feature, the extremely robust and short lower arm with bulky end-processes, is a key feature of very advanced "lithostrotian" titanosaurs - as are the slender teeth found with the specimen. I won't ruin the excitement of its most likely (unpublished!) taxonomic affinities just yet, but suffice it to say, it's not from Opisthocoelicaudiinae, Saltasauridae, Euhelopodidae, Huanghetitanidae, or any of the other titanosauriform families previously known from China - in fact it appears to be most closely related to a group which until now was thought to have absolutely no presence there at all.

This dinosaur was about 60 ft. long (or more, the outline may be seriously underestimating the neck and tail for all we know). With those short legs and deep yet probably narrow belly, it really doesn't look much like anything seen before, alive or extinct. Think of a laterally compressed hippo perhaps... or stick a long neck and tail on an Embolotherium and you might get a similar result. I doubt this animal was in any way aquatic, but it's a safe guess that with that low of a belly clearance off the ground, these guys weren't stomping into steep highlands like Brachiosaurus.
All your dinosaurs are wrong.

I mean ALL of them. Every few years we hear of x revision or y development in how artists "need" to restore dinosaurs, as new information is discovered. Some of it valid scientific data, the rest over-hyped happenstance. We've seen relatively valid changes to dinosaurs' appearance in the last few decades (such as light feathers on coelurosaur-line theropods and deep skin folds on the shoulders of duckbills) to unexplained and largely unwarranted innovations (like GSP's overly thickened "bison necks" on his duckbills and tropical raptors seemingly drowning in a 60kg pile of big clumsy turkey feathers) to downright inexplicable bandwagon flip-flops based on whatever paper gets more press coverage on dumbed-down "mainstream" media (such as the rapid bounce-back of many ignorant copycat artists not worth naming, in the practice of changing many sauropod necks from horizontal (copying after Alexander) to vertical (after Bakker and GSP) to horizontal (after Stevens & Parrish) and then back again (after Taylor, Wedel and Naish), all without doing any research on the validity of each one's points or lack thereof.

But now with the discovery of yet another Edmontosaurus mummy, it becomes evident that the formerly flat-headed duckbill had a fleshy rooster-like display crest with absolutely no bone core:….

Or at least one of the two sexes had it as an adult. And this blows a hole in everything we thought we knew about dinosaur anatomy.

Think of what this means for a second... if a species as seemingly plain and commonly understood as Edmontosaurus regalis had soft-tissue features that we never knew about before, which the bones don't even hint at, what can this mean about less well-known dinosaurs that are known from only one or two good skeletons and no skin impressions?

If we find a Malawisaurus mummy, is it going to have fleshy dragon whiskers on its lower jaw? Did Yutyrannus have soft tentacles on its nostrils like a star-nosed mole? Was Concavenator's bizarre "dorsal fin" part of a much larger and more complex array of mostly soft-tissue display structures? Were the crests of big-nosed sauropods just a simple nasal chamber, or the core of a much larger inflatable resonating structure, with interdermal colors which can be revealed through inflating, then retracted between duller-colored segments of skin by deflating, like the display patches on certain birds and baboons? For now, you be the judge.

Of course it's not that controversial for those of us (like Brian Engh) who have long speculated that dinosaurs' life appearance involved far more extensive display structures than what we can find evidence for in most fossils. Only now there's a little baseball-sized piece of fossil proof for it. And now we know for sure that no matter how imaginitive (like Engh), or how conservative (like myself), you draw your dinosaurs, chances are you're all (albeit unequally) wrong. But that won't stop us from trying. We don't yet have an InGen or a Jurassic park, and now there will be many more revisions to Edmontosaurus, and who knows what next. Go crazy once in a while, you may get lucky and second-guess the next soft-tissue phenomenon. I'll see you all in the cloning room.
A bit of an update here... starting to move through the basal brachiosaurs. Atlasaurus is done and a few others in the works. After that it's back to Forgotten Giants.

The poached fossils busted by the U.S. customs are on their way back to Mongolia...… think that a complete Tarbosaurus almost was lost to science forever. And all you reporters, let's stop calling it "Tyrannosaurus", that only confuses people. It's obvious to hair-splitting paleontologists that they mean T. bataar, not T. rex, and we could discuss the merits of lumping versus splitting forever. But the rest of the world "Tyrannosaurus" implies "T. rex" so to avoid confusion just call the Mongolian fossils Tarbosaurus. One genus doesn't normally traverse two continents anyway, and even the juveniles of both species don't look the same, let alone the adults.
A few things to mention here:

First of all, I've changed my email. It's now Yahoo is getting very annoying with their new format, not recognizing my password and demanding security codes and your oldest cousin's name every time you log in (this is not a security question I ever filled out, so of course they don't accept any answer). Either my account has been hacked or the cookies are deleted so that the "new and improved" yahoo, more cookie-dependent than ever, doesn't recognize my computer. If it's the former, then joke's on you hackers. You won't find anything there but technical dinosaur-related emails and a big pile of unanswered spam from Nigeria asking for your bank account. If it's the latter, then Yahoo has really hit a low point of incompetence and hassle. Their new management team is a laughingstock and they've gutted everything that was good about yahoo for the past few years, and now it's a chore just to log in.

I've switched to my Hotmail email until I get time to find something better and more secure. Not a huge fan of Microsoft/hotmail either, but at least they're not shutting me out of my account or constantly wrecking the interface.

If I owned Yahoo stock, I'd sell. Like right NOW. Yahoo is trading up at a price spike of $19 a share which is total overhype in my opinion, given how garbage the email service is now. The new CEO is a joke, talking up the anticipated "turnaround" and cheerleading up the stock price without any tangible gain in profits or improvement in services - in fact their revenue has DECLINING over the past 2 years in their pyrrhic bidding war with Google over ad-choked cell phone apps. And now it appears they are gutting everything to skim together enough money to justify further commitment to an obvious quagmire. I'd short Yahoo, in fact, I'd short media companies altogether, that's a good New Year's resolution. Invest in something with tangible product, that has solid returns and sells something more than sizzle.

In other news... stay tuned for some basal brachiosaurs.
A little quick update on the activity here now that I have a bit of time on Thanksgiving weekend:

1. The eighth version of my Futalognkosaurus dukei skeletal is now up. This one is very different from the others, it's a full multiview redo with practically none of the old (and distorted) renditions of the bones carried over. It's somewhat bittersweet that this isn't the version ROM ended up using for reference (they chose one of my earlier renditions:… ), but time constraints aside, when you're working with bones that were measured rather haphazardly at initial publication, and referred specimens that were not described to the extent of everyone's satisfaction (translation: barely mentioned at all!) some creative differences are bound to result. Needless to say, there have been some new photos from new angles of the actual fossil material appearing on the net which forced me to reconsider my own previous version, and which render ROM's Rapetosaurus-headed and peg-legged Alamo-Futa-Malawisaurus-on-steroids mishmash mount outdated in a heartbeat. (Did the curator even realize how little of the Futalognkosaurus material was actually used in casting that mount, and how much of what was used was badly crushed and the replicas were never "de-crushed" in casting?) The new Mark-VIII skeletal is more detailed and powerful than anything ever done for Futalognkosaurus before by any artist (it certainly knocks Greg Paul's bland and rather wimpy foot-dragging silhouette version deep into Lago Barreales).

2. Argentinosaurus is modified once again, with even narrower limb spacing (still feels a bit too wide, but an improvement in any case). This became necessary as I realized that (a) most titanosaurs are incorrectly drawn with the legs and feet splayed too widely apart in blind imitation of Wilson and Sereno - violating everything known about graviportal limb biomechanics and titanosaur footprints - and (b) Futalognkosaurus had wide gauge limbs for a sauropod (and even for a titanosaur) but they were oddly coming out far narrower than my Argentinosaurus despite the latter being a more basal titanosaur with less flared hips and (presumably) a proportionally narrower gut.

3. It's going to be time to update both Sauroposeidon and Giraffatitan soon. Sauroposeidon because of the new juvenile material (which reminds me, I should probably ramp up work on Paluxysaurus to see how far the similarities and differences truly go), and Giraffatitan because the Janensch papers contain plenty of unused data and little-known bones that have never been restored, which provide far more background on Giraffatitan than I was able to work into my initial skeletal. A couple of elements even appear to have been properly understood (let alone addressed) only by Janensch despite not being reflected in his rather cursory skeletal reconstruction, and then flat-out ignored or omitted by every paleoartist since then.

And as always, I am thankful for every day that I have on this earth, as it's another opportunity to put smiles on people's faces (including my own) while improving in all areas of life, and producing such fulfilling and original work while being a constant unapologetic thorn in the side of the blind conformity of all paleoart's latte bandwagon dilletantes.