Supersaurus

Supersaurus (meaning "super lizard") is a genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaur that lived in North America during the Late Jurassic period. The type species, S. vivianae, was first discovered by Vivian Jones of Delta, Colorado, in the middle Morrison Formation of Colorado in 1972. The fossil remains came from the Brushy Basin Member of the formation, dating to about 153 million years ago.[1] A potential second species, S. lourinhanensis, is known from Portugal and has been dated to a similar time.[2]

Supersaurus
Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 153 Ma
Supersaurus-Holotype-BYU9025-PerspectiveWarp
A cast of BYU 9025, a scapulocoracoid, the holotype of Supersaurus, Dinosaur Journey Museum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Family: Diplodocidae
Subfamily: Diplodocinae
Genus: Supersaurus
Jensen, 1985
Type species
Supersaurus vivianae
Jensen, 1985
Other Species
Synonyms

Description

Longest dinosaurs2
Diagram showing the size of Supersaurus (orange) compared with selected giant sauropods
Supersaurus dinosaur
Life restoration of Supersaurus based primarily on Wyoming Dinosaur Center's more complete "Jimbo".

Supersaurus is among the largest dinosaurs known from good remains, possibly reaching 33–34 meters (108–112 ft) in length, and a weight of 31.8–36.3 metric tons (35.1–40.0 short tons).[3]

The first described specimens of Supersaurus were individual bones that suggested a large diplodocid. A large cervical vertebra BYU 9024 from the same quarry was later assigned to Supersaurus.[4] This vertebra measures 1,380 millimeters (54 in) and is the longest cervical known.[5]

The assignment of the more complete specimen, WDC DMJ-021, to Supersaurus suggests that in most respects it was very similar in anatomy to Apatosaurus but less robustly built with especially elongated cervical vertebrae, resulting in one of the longest known sauropod necks.[3]

History

Supersaurus
A reconstructed skeleton, Museum of Ancient Life, Utah, USA.

The original fossil remains of Supersaurus were discovered in the Dry Mesa Quarry in 1972. This find yielded only a few bones: mainly the shoulder girdle, an ischium and tail vertebrae. Paleontologist James A. Jensen described Supersaurus; he designated a scapulocoracoid BYU 9025 (originally labeled as BYU 5500) as the type specimen. This shoulder girdle stood some 2.4 meters (8 ft) tall, if placed on end. The specimen was given the name "Supersaurus" informally as early as 1973,[6] but was not officially described and named until more than a decade later, in 1985.[7]

Sauropod researcher Jack McIntosh at one time thought that the BYU Supersaurus material might represent a large species of Barosaurus but later felt that there was evidence for Supersaurus being a valid genus.[8]

Jimbo Supersaurus
A reconstruction of WDC DMJ-021, nicknamed "Jimbo", Wyoming Dinosaur Center.

A much more complete specimen WDC DMJ-021, nicknamed "Jimbo", was found in Converse County, Wyoming in 1996 and was described and assigned to Supersaurus in 2007. The specimen represented approximately 30% of the skeleton. Its bones are being held at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. A comparison of WDC DMJ-021 and other specimens previously assigned to Supersaurus was done in order to help decide what material from the Dry Mesa Quarry belonged to the genus. It indicated that a series of tail vertebrae and an ulna may have belonged to some other diplodocid.[3]

Supersaurus is present in stratigraphic zone 5 of the Morrison, dating from the Tithonian.[9]

Ultrasauros

James A. Jensen
James A. Jensen with the reconstructed front leg of Ultrasauros.

Jensen, who described the original Supersaurus specimen, simultaneously reported the discovery of another gigantic sauropod, which would later be named "Ultrasaurus" macintoshi[7] (later renamed Ultrasauros macintoshi). The type specimen (the specimen used to define a new species) of Ultrasauros, being a backbone (dorsal vertebra, labelled BYU 9044), was later found to have come from Supersaurus. In fact, it probably belonged to the original Supersaurus specimen, which was discovered in the same quarry in 1972. Therefore, Ultrasauros became a junior objective synonym of Supersaurus, which had been named first and thus retains priority, and the name Ultrasauros was abandoned.[10]

Other bones that were found at the same location and originally thought to belong to Ultrasauros, like a shoulder girdle (scapulocoracoid, BYU 9462), actually belonged to Brachiosaurus, possibly a large specimen of Brachiosaurus altithorax.[10] The Brachiosaurus bones indicate a large, but not record-breaking individual, a little larger than the "Brachiosaurus" brancai (Giraffatitan brancai) mount in the Berlin's Natural History Museum. Larger specimens of Brachiosaurus are known from the Tendaguru beds of Tanzania, in east Africa.

Supersaurus vivianae dorsal vertebra
Dorsal vertebra BYU 9044, the holotype of Ultrasauros, now assigned to Supersaurus Museum of Ancient Life

Originally, these Supersaurus and Brachiosaurus bones were believed to represent a single dinosaur that was estimated to reach about 25 to 30 meters (80 to 100 ft) long, 8 meters (25 ft) high at the shoulder, 15 meters (50 ft) in total height, and weighing maybe 70 metric tons (75 short tons). At the time, mass estimates ranged up to 180 tons,[11] which placed it in the same category as the blue whale and the equally problematic Bruhathkayosaurus.

The naming of the chimeric Ultrasauros has a similarly complicated history. Ultrasaurus (with the final "u") was the original choice, and was widely used by the media after the discovery in 1979. However, the name of a new species must be published with a description to become official.

Supersaurus vivianae pelvis
Pelvis BYU 130185, currently assigned to Supersaurus, Museum of Ancient Life - Thanksgiving Point.

Before Jim Jensen published his discovery in 1985, another paleontologist, Kim Haang Mook, used the name Ultrasaurus in a 1983 publication to describe what he believed was a giant dinosaur in South Korea. This was a different, much smaller dinosaur than Jensen's find, but Kim thought it represented a similarly gigantic animal because he confused a humerus for an ulna. While the logic of naming was incorrect, the Ultrasaurus from Kim's find fulfilled the requirements for naming and became regarded as a legitimate, if dubious genus. Thus, because Jensen did not publish his own "Ultrasaurus" find until 1985, Kim's use retained its official priority of name, and Jensen was forced to choose a new name (in technical terms, his original choice was "preoccupied" by Kim's sauropod). In 1991, at his suggestion, George Olshevsky changed one letter, and renamed Jensen's sauropod Ultrasauros, with the final "o".

When it was later discovered that the new name referred to bones from two separate, and already known species, the name Ultrasauros became a junior synonym for Supersaurus. Since the bones from the Brachiosaurus were only used as a secondary reference for the new species, Ultrasauros is not a junior synonym for Brachiosaurus. Since Supersaurus was named slightly earlier, the name Ultrasauros has been discarded in favor of Supersaurus.

Additional synonyms

Another diplodocid dinosaur found near the original Supersaurus quarry, known from a backbone (dorsal vertebra type specimen BYU 5750), was named Dystylosaurus edwini and is now also considered to be a specimen of Supersaurus vivianae. Hence, Dystylosaurus has also become a junior synonym of Supersaurus.[12]

Classification

Most studies of diplodocid relationships have found it to contain two primary subgroups: Diplodocinae (containing those diplodocids more closely related to Diplodocus than to Apatosaurus) and Apatosaurinae (diplodocids more closely related to Apatosaurus than to Diplodocus). Originally, it was thought that Supersaurus was related to the long-necked diplodocid Barosaurus, and therefore a member of the subfamily Diplodocinae, however, with the assignment of the more complete WDC DMJ-021 most later studies found Supersaurus to be a close relative of the familiar Apatosaurus in the group Apatosaurinae.[3] However, some later studies cast doubt on this paradigm. One comprehensive study of diplodocoid relationships published by Whitlock in 2011 found Apatosaurus itself to lie at the base of the diplodocid family tree, and other "apatosaurines", including Supersaurus, to be progressively more closely related to Diplodocus (making them diplodocines).[13]

Supersaurus NT small
Restoration

In 2015, a specimen level phylogenetic study of diplodocids found that Dinheirosaurus lourinhanensis grouped with Supersaurus. The study considered that it should be a new species of Supersaurus, in a new combination S. lourinhanensis.[2]

Diplodocidae

Amphicoelias altus

Apatosaurinae

Unnamed species

Apatosaurus ajax

Apatosaurus louisae

Brontosaurus excelsus

Brontosaurus yahnahpin

Brontosaurus parvus

Diplodocinae

Unnamed species

Tornieria africana

Supersaurus lourinhanensis

Supersaurus vivianae

Leinkupal laticauda

Galeamopus hayi

Diplodocus carnegii

Diplodocus hallorum

Kaatedocus siberi

Barosaurus lentus

References

  1. ^ Turner, C.E. and Peterson, F., (1999). "Biostratigraphy of dinosaurs in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Western Interior, U.S.A." Pp. 77–114 in Gillette, D.D. (ed.), Vertebrate Paleontology in Utah. Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 99-1.
  2. ^ a b Tschopp, E., Mateus O., & Benson R. B. J. (2015). A specimen-level phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision of Diplodocidae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda). PeerJ. 3, e857., 4
  3. ^ a b c d Lovelace, David M.; Hartman, Scott A.; Wahl, William R. (2007). "Morphology of a specimen of Supersaurus (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Morrison Formation of Wyoming, and a re-evaluation of diplodocid phylogeny". Arquivos do Museu Nacional. 65 (4): 527–544.
  4. ^ Jensen, James A. (1987). "NEW BRACHIOSAUR MATERIAL FROM THE LATE JURASSIC OF UTAH AND COLORADO". The Great Basin Naturalist. 47 (4): 592–608. ISSN 0017-3614. JSTOR 41712373.
  5. ^ Wedel, Mathew J.; Cifelli, R.L.; Sanders, R.K. (March 2000). "Sauroposeidon proteles, a new sauropod from the Early Cretaceous of Oklahoma" (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 20 (1): 109–114. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2000)020[0109:SPANSF]2.0.CO;2.
  6. ^ George, J. 1973. Supersaurus. The biggest brute ever. Denver Post, Empire Magazine. May 13, 1973. (condensed in: Reader's Digest, Jun. 1973: 51-56.)
  7. ^ a b Jensen, J.A. (1985). "Three new sauropod dinosaurs from the Upper Jurassic of Colorado." Great Basin Naturalist, 45: 697-709.
  8. ^ McIntosh, John S. (2005). "The genus Barosaurus Marsh (Sauropoda, Diplodocidae)". In Tidwell, Virginia; Carpenter, Ken (eds.). Thunder-lizards: The Sauropod Dinosaurs. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 38–77. ISBN 0-253-34542-1.
  9. ^ Foster, J. (2007). "Appendix". Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press. pp. 327-329.
  10. ^ a b Curtice, B., Stadtman, K., and Curtice, L. (1996) "A re-assessment of Ultrasauros macintoshi (Jensen, 1985)." Pp. 87-95 in M. Morales (ed.), The Continental Jurassic: Transactions of the Continental Jurassic Symposium, Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin number 60.
  11. ^ McGowan, C. (1991). Dinosaurs, Spitfires and Sea Dragons. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA
  12. ^ Curtice, B.; Stadtman, K. (2001). "The demise of Dystylosaurus edwini and a revision of Supersaurus vivianae". In McCord, R.D.; Boaz, D. (eds.). Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists and Southwest Paleontological Symposium - Proceedings 2001. Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin. 8. pp. 33–40.
  13. ^ Whitlock, J.A. (2011). "A phylogenetic analysis of Diplodocoidea (Saurischia: Sauropoda)." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Article first published online: January 12, 2011. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2010.00665.x

External links

Australodocus

Australodocus (meaning "southern beam" from the Latin australis "southern" and the Greek dokos/δοκоς "beam") is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago, in what is now Tanzania. Though initially considered a diplodocid, recent analyses suggest it may instead be a titanosauriform.

Barosaurus

Barosaurus ( BARR-o-SAWR-əs) was a giant, long-tailed, long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur closely related to the more familiar Diplodocus. Remains have been found in the Morrison Formation from the Upper Jurassic Period of Utah and South Dakota (and possibly Africa, as exemplified by the Kadsi Formation). It is present in stratigraphic zones 2-5.The composite term Barosaurus comes from the Greek words barys (βαρυς) meaning "heavy" and sauros (σαυρος) meaning "lizard"; thus "heavy lizard".

Dinheirosaurus

Dinheirosaurus is a genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaur that is known from fossils uncovered in modern-day Portugal. It may represent a species of Supersaurus. The only species is Dinheirosaurus lourinhanensis, first described by José Bonaparte and Octávio Mateus in 1999 for vertebrae and some other material from the Lourinhã Formation. Although the precise age of the formation is not known, it can be dated around the early Tithonian of the Late Jurassic.

The known material includes two cervical vertebrae, nine dorsal vertebrae, a few ribs, a fragment of a pubis, and many gastroliths. Of the material, only the vertebrae are diagnostic, with the ribs and pubis being too fragmentary or general to distinguish Dinheirosaurus. This material was first described as in the genus Lourinhasaurus, but differences were noticed and in 1999 Bonaparte and Mateus redescribed the material under the new binomial Dinheirosaurus lourinhanensis. Another specimen, ML 418, thought to be Dinheirosaurus, is now known to be from another Portuguese diplodocid. This means that Dinheirosaurus lived alongside many theropods, sauropods, thyreophorans and ornithopods, as well as at least one other diplodocid.

Dinheirosaurus is a diplodocid, a relative of Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Barosaurus, Supersaurus, and Tornieria. Among those, the closest relative to Dinheirosaurus is Supersaurus.

Diplodocidae

Diplodocids, or members of the family Diplodocidae ("double beams"), are a group of sauropod dinosaurs. The family includes some of the longest creatures ever to walk the Earth, including Diplodocus and Supersaurus, some of which may have reached lengths of up to 34 metres (112 ft).

Diplodocinae

Diplodocinae is an extinct subfamily of diplodocid sauropods that existed from the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous of North America, Europe and South America, about 161.2 to 136.4 million years ago. Genera within the subfamily include Tornieria, Supersaurus, Leinkupal, Galeamopus, Diplodocus, Kaatedocus and Barosaurus.Cladogram of the Diplodocidae after Tschopp, Mateus, and Benson (2015).

Diplodocoidea

Diplodocoidea is a superfamily of sauropod dinosaurs, which included some of the longest animals of all time, including slender giants like Supersaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Amphicoelias. Most had very long necks and long, whip-like tails; however, one family (the dicraeosaurids) are the only known sauropods to have re-evolved a short neck, presumably an adaptation for feeding low to the ground. This adaptation was taken to the extreme in the highly specialized sauropod Brachytrachelopan. A study of snout shape and dental microwear in diplodocoids showed that the square snouts, large proportion of pits, and fine subparallel scratches in Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Nigersaurus, and Rebbachisaurus suggest ground-height nonselective browsing; the narrow snouts of Dicraeosaurus, Suuwassea, and Tornieria and the coarse scratches and gouges on the teeth of Dicraeosaurus suggest mid-height selective browsing in those taxa. This taxon is also noteworthy because diplodocoid sauropods had the highest tooth replacement rates of any vertebrates, as exemplified by Nigersaurus, which had new teeth erupting every 30 days.

Diplodocus

Diplodocus (, , or ) is a genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs whose fossils were first discovered in 1877 by S. W. Williston. The generic name, coined by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878, is a neo-Latin term derived from Greek διπλός (diplos) "double" and δοκός (dokos) "beam", in reference to the double-beamed chevron bones located in the underside of the tail, which were then considered unique. It is now common scientific opinion that Seismosaurus hallorum is a species of Diplodocus.

This genus of dinosaurs lived in what is now mid-western North America at the end of the Jurassic period. Diplodocus is one of the more common dinosaur fossils found in the middle to upper Morrison Formation, between about 154 and 152 million years ago, during the late Kimmeridgian age. The Morrison Formation records an environment and time dominated by gigantic sauropod dinosaurs, such as Apatosaurus, Barosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Camarasaurus. Its great size may have been a deterrent to the predators Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus: their remains have been found in the same strata, which suggests that they coexisted with Diplodocus.

Diplodocus is among the most easily identifiable dinosaurs, with its typical sauropod shape, long neck and tail, and four sturdy legs. For many years, it was the longest dinosaur known.

Dry Mesa Quarry

The Dry Mesa Dinosaur Quarry is situated in southwestern Colorado, United States, near the town of Delta. Its geology forms a part of the Morrison Formation and has famously yielded a great diversity of animal remains from the Jurassic Period, among them Ceratosaurus, Supersaurus, and Torvosaurus. The quarry is found within the Uncompahgre National Forest.

Ferganasaurus

Ferganasaurus was a genus of dinosaur first formally described in 2003 by Alifanov and Averianov. The type species is Ferganasaurus verzilini. It was a sauropod similar to Rhoetosaurus. The fossils were discovered in 1966 in Kyrgyzstan from the Balabansai Formation and date to the Callovian stage of the Middle Jurassic.

Galeamopus

Galeamopus is a genus of herbivorous diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs. It contains two known species: Galeamopus hayi, known from the Late Jurassic lower Morrison Formation (Kimmeridgian age, about 155 million years ago) of Wyoming, United States, and Galeamopus pabsti, known from the Late Jurassic fossils from Wyoming and Colorado. The type species is known from one of the most well preserved diplodocid fossils, a nearly complete skeleton with associated skull.

Gravisauria

Gravisauria is a clade of sauropod dinosaurs consisting of some genera, Vulcanodontidae and Eusauropoda.

James A. Jensen

James Alvin Jensen (August 2, 1918 – December 14, 1998), was an American paleontologist. His extensive collecting program at Brigham Young University in the Utah-Colorado region which spanned 23 years was comparable in terms of the number of specimens collected to that of Barnum Brown during the early 20th century. He was given the name "Dinosaur Jim" during the media coverage of his activities. Perhaps his most significant contribution to paleontology was to replace the 19th-century web of external metal struts, straps and posts that had been used to mount dinosaurs with a system of supports which were placed inside of bones, which produced free-standing skeletons with few or no obvious supports.

He is credited with naming and describing Supersaurus (1985) and Torvosaurus (with Peter Galton, 1979).

Kaatedocus

Kaatedocus is a genus of diplodocine flagellicaudatan sauropod known from the middle Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian stage) of northern Wyoming, United States. It is known from well-preserved skull and cervical vertebrae which were collected in the lower part of the Morrison Formation. The type and only species is Kaatedocus siberi, described in 2012 by Emanuel Tschopp and Octávio Mateus.

Leinkupal

Leinkupal is a genus of diplodocine sauropod known from the Early Cretaceous (Late Berriasian to Early Valanginian stage) of the Bajada Colorada Formation, southeastern Neuquén Basin in the Neuquén Province of Argentina. It contains a single species, Leinkupal laticauda.

List of dinosaur genera

This list of dinosaurs is a comprehensive listing of all genera that have ever been included in the superorder Dinosauria, excluding class Aves (birds, both living and those known only from fossils) and purely vernacular terms.

The list includes all commonly accepted genera, but also genera that are now considered invalid, doubtful (nomen dubium), or were not formally published (nomen nudum), as well as junior synonyms of more established names, and genera that are no longer considered dinosaurs. Many listed names have been reclassified as everything from birds to crocodilians to petrified wood. The list contains 1559 names, of which approximately 1192 are considered either valid dinosaur genera or nomina dubia.

Lusotitan

Lusotitan is a genus of herbivorous brachiosaurid sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Period of Portugal.

In 1947 Manuel de Matos, a member of the Geological Survey of Portugal, discovered large sauropod fossils in the Portuguese Lourinhã Formation that date back to the Tithonian stage of the Late Jurassic period. In 1957 Albert-Félix de Lapparent and Georges Zbyszewski named the remains as a new species of Brachiosaurus: Brachiosaurus atalaiensis. The specific name referred to the site Atalaia. In 2003 Octávio Mateus and Miguel Telles Antunes named it as a separate genus: Lusotitan. The type species is Lusotitan atalaiensis. The generic name is derived from Luso, the Latin name for an inhabitant of Lusitania, and from the Greek word "Titan", a mythological giant.

The finds consisted of a partial skeleton lacking the skull and individual vertebrae uncovered in several locations. De Lapparent did not assign a holotype. In 2003 Mateus chose the skeleton as the lectotype. Its bones have the inventory numbers MIGM 4798, 4801–10, 4938, 4944, 4950, 4952, 4958, 4964–6, 4981–2, 4985, 8807, and 8793-5. These remains include 28 vertebrae and elements of the appendicular skeleton.

It has been estimated that Lusotitan was 25 meters (82 feet) long. It had long forearms, one of the reasons Mateus assigned it to the Brachiosauridae.

The lectotype was re-described by Mannion and colleagues in 2013.

Suuwassea

Suuwassea (meaning "ancient thunder") is a genus of dicraeosaurid sauropod dinosaur found in the Upper Jurassic strata of the Morrison Formation, located in southern Carbon County, Montana, United States. The fossil remains were recovered in a series of expeditions during a period spanning the years 1999 and 2000, described by J.D. Harris and Peter Dodson in 2004. They consist of a disarticulated but associated partial skeleton, including partial vertebral series and limb bones.

Tornieria

Tornieria ("for Tornier") is a genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaur from Late Jurassic of Tanzania. It has a convoluted taxonomic history.

Ultrasaurus

Ultrasaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur discovered by Haang Mook Kim in South Korea. However, the name was first used unofficially (as a nomen nudum) in 1979 by Jim Jensen to describe a set of giant dinosaur bones he discovered in the United States. Because Kim published the name for his specimen before Jensen could do so officially, Jensen renamed his specimen Ultrasauros. Jensen's giant sauropod was later found to be a chimera, and the type remains are now assigned to Supersaurus.

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