stepping into the breach

SV-POW! has been pretty devoid of SV lately (sauropod vertebrae). They did have a few in the latest Sauroposeidon post, and a few caudals further down the page – but overall Matt, Mike and Darren are slackers! Time to step into the breach, with some images from the Bone Cellar of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

These are, on the right:

(sorry for blurry photo, the plastic wrapper played havoc with autofocus)

as well as the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae of MB.R.2180, old numbering S I, the lectotype of Giraffatitan (Brachiosaurus) brancai (Janensch, 1914) from Tendaguru, Tanzania. If you want to know why this animal is named Giraffatitan and not Brachiosaurus, here‘s your answer.

and this is cervical 7, its tag is shown below. Note the crazy laminae!

Why am I showing the stupid tags? Two reasons, really: for one thing, anyone who has ever been to the MfN dinosaur collection knows them: the size, the red dot denoting an “original” (a specimen that is mentioned in a publication), the parcel twine with which it is tied to the bone, the tiny-type text giving the publication that mentions the specimen, and the magic words “Oberjura, Tendaguru-Schichten” and “Tandaguru, Fundstelle [...], Tansania, Ostafrika”. To researchers dealing with sauropods, they bring back memories of the amazing cool of the Main Collection and the unreal experience of entering the Bone Cellar for the first time. Of seeing for the first time, with your own eyes, this:

I showed a few bone cellar pictures before: here and here (last two pics of post).

The second reason is that the clean, printed (and not handwritten) labels with plenty of literature on them are proof of the immense amount of work my colleague Daniela Schwarz-Wings and collection manager Serpentina Scheffel have put into the bone cellar over the last few years, and the tireless work of others before (Wolf-Dieter Heinrich comes to mind – a mammal researcher who nonetheless spend inordinate amounts of time sorting the Tendaguru material). The bone cellar is far from perfect, but now, you can find bones easily, they are being re-prepared and re-conserved one by one, they are stored safely using the black mats you see under them, clean (the plastic covers work, hurray!) and they are properly labelled, too. Thanks, folks, you’re doing fine work :)

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
This entry was posted in Berlin, Dinopics, Dinosauria, Giraffatitan, MfN Berlin, Sauropoda, Sauropodomorpha. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to stepping into the breach

  1. Sturisoma says:

    Very nice pictures.
    Sorry if I also have an somewhat unrelated questions:
    Are there actually plans for those unopened crates from Tendaguru?

  2. Mike Taylor says:

    Thanks for taking up the slack! I am just back from this year’s SVPCA in Oxford, and ready to blog the single most awesome sauropod-related image ever over on SV-POW!.

    Of course, the moment I saw your top photo, I instantly recognised HMN SI:C2-C6. But I still haven’t learned the new specimen number.

    I really should clean up and publish my careful and complete set of photos of these vertebrae.

    • Yes you should indeed!
      I’ll soon have one of them placed on a turntable (with the plaster rest) and do some photogrammetry and laser scanning :)

      I’m looking forward to your post of a living sauropod or whatever you brought back from SVPCA!

  3. Pingback: more MfN bone cellar | dinosaurpalaeo

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