Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Argentinosaurus vs. Giganotosaurus

OK, I'm back. Things will return to normal over the next few days while I get caught up.

To ease our way back into things, here's a posting from the palaeoblog’s sometime foreign correspondent, Eric Snively, who spent several weeks in Argentina before Christmas working on a number of projects. He kindly sent along these photos. The captions are all Eric's.

Phil Currie, Eva Koppelhus, and I (all from the University of Alberta) recently went o Neuquen province and Buenos Aires. Here Eva, Premji Paulina Carabajal, Phil, and Rodolfo Coria examine the type specimen of Megaraptor. The melodramatic setting is the repository museum overlooking the high-desert Barreales reservoir. Jorge Calvo and his great technicians run a pay-for-dig program here, with most of the quarry right down by the water.

Plaza Huincul, Neuquen (=Vernal, Utah and Drumheller, Alberta) has several happy municipal trash cans.

Museo Carmen Funes, Plaza Huincul.

Giganotosaurus (Museo Carmen Funes), perhaps the largest and second-mightiest land carnivore that ever lived,...

... is reduced to daschund stature by Argentinosaurus, a sure inducement of Tourette symptoms in palaeontologists.

The thoracic column of Argentinosaurus. Based on casts of the preserved dorsals and the sacrum, Rodolfo Coria's mount accurately captures the scale of this region. The bones are in appallingly hard rock: think Chuck Norris meets Metallica, times 12.

Argentinosaurus with humans for scale.

Argentinosaurus with more humans for scale. There are relatively few original bones, but it is difficult to scale the trunk and limbs any smaller. These casts are on their way to Germany.

Rodolfo Coria and Premji Paulina Carabajal take inventory of Argentinosaurus.