Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

Novel pneumatic features in the ribs of the sauropod dinosaur Brachiosaurus altithorax

Michael P. Taylor and Mathew J. Wedel

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 68 (4), 2023: 709-718 doi:10.4202/app.01105.2023

Pneumatic dorsal ribs are known for many sauropods, but to date costal pneumaticity has received relatively little attention. In particular, the pneumatic ribs of the holotype specimen of Brachiosaurus altithorax have been largely overlooked, although they present a unique configuration of pneumatic features. One rib, with a pneumatic foramen some distance down the shaft, was briefly described and illustrated in the early 20th century by Elmer S. Riggs. A second rib with a pneumatic foramen in the tuberculum of the rib has not previously been described or illustrated. This previously undescribed foramen is similar in location to those in some dorsal ribs of Brontosaurus excelsus and Giraffatitan brancai, but differs from them in both size and shape. The contrasting sites of costal pneumaticity in the holotype individual of Brachiosaurus altithorax emphasize the generally opportunistic mode of postcranial pneumatization, in both sauropods and other ornithodirans, but conform to models of pneumatization following vascularization.

Key words: Sauropoda, Dinosauria, Brachiosauridae, pneumaticity, costal pneumaticity.

Michael P. Taylor [; ORCID:], Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK. Mathew J. Wedel [; ORCID: ], College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and College of Podiatric Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California, USA.

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