Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dr. Vector with friends

I don't blog enough about sauropods. I mean, nobody does, but c'mon. It's time for some sauroponderous action featuring yours truly. In rough chronological order, then...

About 20 miles outside of Vernal, Utah, is the turnoff for Dinosaur National Monument. Once you start on the road in, the only potential stop before you get to the Wall is an improbably large private gift shop. They have the best dino junk in the world, and outside they have this kickass lifesize Diplodocus you can get your picture taken on. I've actually ridden the dino twice, once in the summer of 1997 when I was hitting museums out west with Vicki and Tyson Davis, and once the next summer when Rich's field crew was passing through Vernal on our way home from the Cloverly. I assume that this photo is from 1997 since I'm (A) wearing pants--that is, as opposed to shorts, you perverts, (2) not visibly bearded, and (D) waving a ball cap instead of my big-ass Tilley T2.

Jump forward to June 2004, when I went back to the OMNH with Andrew Lee, who snapped this cool shot of me with an immense dorsal vertebra of Apatosaurus. This is probably D5 or D6, based on the incipient cleft in the neural spine (the thing on the left that would be the neck and headboard if this was a guitar). It's an even 140 cm tall, compared to 105 cm for the same bone in the mounted skeleton of Apatosaurus in the Carnegie Museum. The Carnegie animal is about 70 feet long, so . . . you do the math.

Last summer I went to Chicago and spend a couple of days rocking the Field Museum with Mike Taylor. The highlight of the trip was getting to have our way with the holotype of Brachiosaurus for an afternoon. It came out of the ground about the same time the Wright brothers were taking off. This is the beast's humerus (upper arm bone). The top end is up by my head, and the elbow end is, well, missing. At least 8 inches, maybe a foot. So it should be even longer than it is. How much does that rock? I'll tell you: a lot.

Time to break chronology. Back in 1999 or 2000 Matt Bonnan came to Norman and spent a few days crashing with Vicki and me and ransacking the OMNH collection. We eventually got a paper out of it, which is the second-best thing to come out of that visit. This is not the first-best thing, but it's close: me with an Apatosaurus femur. Just a normal-sized one; the femur from the monster whose backbone is shown above would be an even third larger.

Now this is the best thing from that visit.

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Blogger Darren Naish said...

Wedel, an awful lot of paleontologists are spinning in their graves. I laughed out loud, and .. ok, ok, yes I will reciprocate and produce a post on MIWG.7306. Stay tuned.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Dr. Vector said...

Bring the pain! Now that you're famous, a brachiosaur-themed post is definitely warranted.

1:38 AM  
Blogger Darren Naish said...

Famous? What do you know that I don't?

5:22 AM  
Blogger Dr. Vector said...

You know. You're out there. You get links from Pharyngula and other high-powered biology blogs. Amongst the Vertebrati, you are Known.

Now. Use your power for good, Dar-El.

12:07 PM  

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