STL Science Center

STL Science Center

04 August 2011

The Tallest Mounting

According to Wikipedia:
A famous specimen of Giraffatitan brancai mounted in Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin) is one of the largest, and in fact the tallest, mounted skeletons in the world, as certified by the Guinness Book of Records. Beginning in 1909, Werner Janensch found many additional G. brancai specimens in Tanzania, Africa, including some nearly complete skeletons, and used them to create the composite mounted skeleton seen today.
This famous specimen of Giraffatitan was repositioned, i.e. remounted, after Paul's 1988 revision of the posturing of Brachiosaurus/Giraffatitan to fit the non-tail dragging models of active dinosaurs. You can compare the mounts in the images here. The significance of this fossil mount is not so much in the positioning as it is in the height of the thing. Guinness has recognized it as the world's tallest mounted skeleton and describes it in the following manner:

The tallest mounted dinosaur skeleton is that of the Brachiosaurus brancai, which measured 13.27 m (43 ft 6 in) high on 1 June 2007. The 150-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton went back on permanent display at the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (Berlin Natural History Museum), Germany in 2007, having been displayed originally in 1937. 
Notice that Guinness has not changed the name to Giraffatitan for this fossil because they measured it before the "official" name change was opened for debate in 2009. Either way, 43 feet is an amazing height for a skeletal mount; looking down that far makes my insides tingle unpleasantly so I for one am glad that the MFN (the acronym the museum uses) does not appear to have a top down sight line for the fossil.

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