I found one of the many books on dinosaurs I read all the time as a young kid, and came across a lot of Luis Rey paintings. I really love Rey’s artwork, and since I can’t seem to find any of these online I decided to put them up here for all you lovely people to enjoy.
BAROSAURUS “Heavy lizard” Late Jurassic, 152-150 million years ago
Although its neck was
longer and its tail was shorter, Barosaurus
was roughly the same size as its close relative Diplodocus. It was dubbed “Heavy lizard” because at 85 feet long
and 20 tons, this powerful plant-eater still couldn’t escape reductive ideals of
Barosaurus has always been one of my favorite diplodocids, and I think it’s just because of the sheer and impressive length of this animal, with a longer neck and shorter tail than its close relative Diplodocus (though still amazingly long). It could grow up to 27.5 meters long, and most of that was truly neck and tail. Like other members of the Diplodocine family (as opposed to the Apatosaurine) family, it had a slender build and longer neck than the typical Apatosaurus or Brontosaurus. It is known from the Morrison Formation of Utah and South Dakota, though for a time it was thought to also live in Africa. However, this specimen has been reassigned to the genus Tornieria, though it is not unreasonable to suppose the two were closely related, given their similar features. It lived between 152 and 150 million years ago, in the Tithonian age of the Late Jurassic.
Barosaurus had good lateral flexibility in its neck, but reduced vertical flexibility, indicating that it had a different feeding style than other diplodocids. It could sweep its neck in long arcs at ground level when feeding, and probably wouldn’t have fed on high-level vegetation. Its neck was about 10 meters long, giving it a wide range of motion, and may have even helped in radiating excess body heat. It’s also possible these long necks were a result of sexual selection. However, we still do not have a Barosaurus skull, though it would be reasonable to suppose that it would be similar to that of Diplodocus. Being from the Morrison formation, it lived alongside many other dinosaurs, such as Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus< Brachiosaurus, Camptosaurus, Dryosaurus, Stegosaurus, Othnielosaurus, Saurophaganax, Torvosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Marshosaurus, Stokesosaurus, Ornitholestes, and Allosaurus. It lived in very high atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, and very warm temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius in winter and 40-45 degrees Celsius in summer, leading to a semi-arid climate and seasonal rainfall. Definitely… not an environment I could have survived in.
The Museum’s iconic Barosaurus mount, located in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, is one of only two such specimens on display anywhere in the world, and the only dinosaur mount with a freestanding animal rearing up 50 feet (15 m). Learn more.
Fossil mounts are installation art in the service of science, and this Barosaurus and Allosaurus scene at AMNH is the perfect example.
Look how the composition brings the viewers eye around the room, and even up to the vaulted ceiling. Look how the open space between the dinosaurs invites visitors to insert their own scale into the scene. Amazing.
Sketchbook #13: Here is one of the sketches I scribbled in my notebook at the recent SVPCA conference, in Edinburgh. As the title(s) suggest, it is a male Barosaurus showing the females that he is in his prime and… ‘up for it’.
Barosaurus bum! In all seriousness, humor aside, I find dinosaur hips quite fascinating and thinking about it, very few photographs specifically of that skeletal region are ever taken. Sauruschia…Ornithischia… Enjoy! #dinosaurbutts #dinosaur #dinobutt #dino #paleontology #barosaurus (at Natural History Museum of Utah)
A close relative of Diplodocus, Barosaurus is virtually indistinguishable from its harder-to-pronounce cousin, save for its 30-foot-long neck (one of the longest of any dinosaur, save Mamenchisaurus). Like other sauropods of the late Jurassic period, Barosaurus wasn’t the brainiest dinosaur that ever lived–its head was unusually small for its massive body–and it probably spent its entire life foraging the tops of trees, protected from predators by its sheer bulk.
The sheer length of Barosaurus’ neck raises some interesting questions. If this dinosaur reared up to its full height, it would have been as tall as a five-story building–which would have placed enormous demands on its heart and overall physiology. Evolutionary biologists have calculated that the ticker of a such a long-necked sauropod would have had to weigh a whopping 1.5 tons, which has prompted speculation about alternate body plans (say, additional, “subsidiary” hearts lining this dinosaur’s neck, or a posture in which Barosaurus held its neck parallel to the ground, like the hose of a vacuum cleaner).
The structure of the cervical vertebrae of Barosaurus allowed for a significant degree of lateral ﬂexibility in the neck, but restricted vertical ﬂexibility. This suggests a different feeding style for this genus when compared to other diplodocids. Barosaurus swept its neck in long arcs at ground level when feeding, which resembled the strategy that was first proposed by John Martin in 1987. The restriction in vertical flexibility suggests that Barosaurus could not feed on vegetation that was high off the ground.