Thursday, March 17, 2011

Announcing The Sauropodomorph Database with Ultrasaurus

This won't be a surprise to you who have followed my Zhao posts, but the Theropod Database is expanding.  When I started the website back in 2004, Mike Keesey's Dinosauricon 2 was in the works so I didn't plan to cover other groups.  But now there's really nowhere to go that has consolidated info on dinosaur taxa, e.g.  if you wanted to find somphospondylan synapomorphies, a list of all Early Jurassic sauropods, or a material list for every taxon (well, Paleofile has the latter, but costs money).  I've been keeping a basic list on my computer all these years, but it's time to update it and put it online.  As with the ex-theropod portion of the site, it holds special interest for me because I'm unfamiliar with most of the data.  It's also interesting because I'll be creating a sauropodomorph matrix to analyze all the taxa.  Most valid Mesozoic theropod taxa have been included in at least one analysis, but I don't think that's true for sauropods, especially the many titanosaurs and basal camarasauromorphs.  Nor have most actually been compared to each other, and there are several messy groups of species like Mamenchisaurus and Omeisaurus that I'd like to have an opinion of.  The format will be the same as the theropod parts, though I'm not sure how it will be integrated yet.  This month I've been creating the backbone of each page by listing the named clades with their definitions, and once that's done I'll upload the extremely partial first version.  None of this means I'll be ignoring theropods of course, as they remain my main interest.  Expect me to switch back and forth between my sub-interests as usual.

For a sample, here's the current Ultrasaurus entry.  The phylogenetic relationships will be considered further once I have a better framework to use.

Ultrasaurus tabriensis holotype proximal humerus (DGBU-1973) in proximal (B) and anterior (C) views.  Scale = 100 mm.  After Lee et al., 1997.

Ultrasaurus Kim, 1983
= "Ultrasaurus" Kim, 1981
U. tabriensis Kim, 1983
Aptian-Early Albian, Early Cretaceous
Gugyedong Formation, South Korea
- (DGBU-1973) proximal humerus (435 mm wide)
Paratype- ?(DGBU coll.) caudal neural spine
Referred- ? rib fragments (Kim, 1988)
? cervical vertebra (Kim, 1988)
Comments- Discovered in 1977, initially identified as a sauropod femur or tibia (Chang et al., 1982) or a proximal brachiosaurid ulna (Kim, 1981, 1983). Paul (1988) notes it is actually a proximal humerus. All modern authors have considered it an indeterminate sauropod, though as Barrett et al. (2002) note, the absence of a well-developed proximolateral humeral process excludes it from Somphospondyli at least.
References- Kim, 1981. Cretaceous dinosaur fossils discovered from two dinosaur sites of Korea. Journal of the Geological Society of Korea. 17, 297.
Chang, Seo and Park, 1982. Occurrence of a dinosaur limb bone near Tabri, southern Korea. Journal of the Geological Society of Korea. 18, 195-202.
Kim, 1983. Cretaceous dinosaurs from South Korea. Journal of the Geological Society of Korea. 19(3), 115-126.
Kim, 1988. Excavations and studies of dinosaur skeletons of Korea. Abstracts at the Annual Meeting of the Paleontological Society of Korea. 4(2), 168-169.
Paul, 1988. The brachiosaur giants of the Morrison and Tendaguru with a description of a new subgenus, Giraffatitan, and a comparison of the world's largest dinosaurs. Hunteria. 2, 1-14.
Lee, 1997. Reassessment of Ultrasaurus tabriensis, Kim 1983 and the significance of Korean Sauropoda. Abstracts at the Annual Meeting of the Paleontological Society of Korea. pg 14.
Lee, Yang and Park, 1997. Sauropod dinosaur remains from the Gyeongsang Supergroup, Korea. Paleontological Society of Korea, Special Publication. 2, 103-114.
Barrett, Hasegawa, Manabe, Isaji and Matsuoka, 2002. Sauropod dinosaurs from the Lower Cretaceous of eastern Asia: Taxonomic and biogeographic implications. Palaeontology. 45, 1197-1217.


  1. May I be the first to say: Yay!

    I don't yet see anything on
    though -- when should we expect to see the bare bones?

  2. I think your "deltopectoral crest" [dpc] note in the figure is pointing at the abductor (external, greater) crest [abc], unless the dpc ascends to the proximal end of the humerus and/or is continuous with the abc. I don't think the latter occurs in almost any sauropod, as the crest appears to arise below the abc by a distict distance.

    Unless I'm wrong, of course. Then I'm wrong.

  3. So, you should call it the "Saurischia Database".

  4. The first version should be up within a week, I just need to get through the last third of my sauropod pdfs to find all the new group names proposed since 2005 (Turiasauria, etc.).

    As for Ultrasaurus' humerus, the figure including labels is from Lee et al.'s paper. I'd want a better understanding of sauropod anatomy and variation before I commented.

    Ans as for The Saurischian Database, I'm still deciding how to integrate it. There will definitely be a separate "Phylogeny of Taxa" page with cladogram for sauropodomorphs, though I'll probably just change the "Ex-Theropod Taxa" to "Ex-Saurischian Taxa", by adding all five or so non-dinosaurs that were once thought to be sauropodomorphs. I'd rather not change the site name, since The Theropod Database already has recognition and The Dinosaur Database is taken by another website.