STL Science Center

STL Science Center

25 January 2012

Check Out This Email.

Below is the email from Kristi Curry Rogers that I found in my inbox yesterday morning. I have taken some bits out because they are not relevant to today and I mentioned them yesterday. At any rate, this is a lot of info and it corrects some things I said Saturday, so read and absorb some good knowledge: you put the osteoderm discovery into the environmental context that helps support our hypothesis about mineral storage (a camel's hump isn't quite the right analogy, since what we found is a big bone that is very similar to the osteoderms of living crocodilians --- except ours hollowed out over the course of the animal's lifetime).  In the Sci Am paper Ray and Dave reconstruct a drought-prone nasty place to live (that resulted in the carnivorous Majungasaurus resorting to cannibalizing the carcasses of it's own species). 

It's also kinda cool that Rapetosaurus is the first titanosaur to really be found with osteoderms associated that give us a clue as to how many  and where they may have been positioned on the body - there weren't as many as shown in any of the posted illustrations, and the few that were there were relatively large. 

I've attached a couple images that might help you!  The first is a mounted skeleton of Rapetosaurus from the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) - the specimen is a small juvenile, like most of the animals that we've recovered from Madagascar.

The second is a shot from more recent field work - that's me standing next to an extraordinarily long cervical rib from an adult Rapetosaurus.


Best wishes,

 These are the photos mentioned:

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