STL Science Center

STL Science Center

03 January 2013

We Know Its Name At Least

Amphicoelias, by most accounts, would not qualify, either species, as a popular dinosaur, but people have heard the name. Perhaps not many people outside of paleontology circles, but those that have can at the very least say they have heard it if they know nothing else about it. You simply do not forget a name like Amphicoelias because it takes a while to figure out how to pronounce it. Beyond that, though, there are no cartoons or books or toys or stuffed animals, mentions in video games; basically all of the typical avenues of popular culture that get discussed here on Thursdays are non-existent for Amphicoelias, which is somewhat sad for either species, especially given that one of them has existing material and as such is not debated as to the validity of its existence. The popular images of Amphicoelias, not those of Knight and other earlier artists that depict large sauropods underwater with their necks craning out, have, for what it is worth, popularized tree loving sauropods in areas with at least some forest, but the area in which Amphicoelias was found is thought to have been mostly savannah-like and thus sparsely populated by trees. Even what we have of art, therefore, is not completely congruent with the facts. Some day, hopefully, we will have more remains and know more about this large and magnificent animal. Until then, we can only base our popular images of Amphicoelias off of what little information we have and the illustrations of previous artists.

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