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:
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 🙂