The problem with Puertasaurus

Puertasaurus reuili

Puertasaurus reuili

When I released my Thunder Lizards  size comparison I was asked why a few of the largest animals were rendered in gray, and when I would be making the actual skeletal available. Using gray silhouettes solved an aesthetic concern (the image was threatening to get too busy), but it turns out that those critters have another problem: they are not known from very incomplete remains.

So here is the skeletal of Puertasaurus in all its "glory". I have a fully restored version as well, but it's not going to be making a public appearance, as frankly I don't want it to be separated from the rigorous version, as that could give off the impression that the animal is better known. In fact even this version is somewhat misleading, as the two tail vertebrae were reported but not figured or described - I don't actually know how big they were!

That's not to say the reconstruction is a fantasy - it's status as a lognkosaur seems secure, and we have very good remains of some of its relatives. And the neck and back vertebrae actually provide a pretty reasonable basis for scaling the largest parts of Puertasaurus. That said, I feel it's important for scientists (and scientific illustrators) not to inadvertently mislead people about the level of inference involved.

So enjoy the skeletal, but please do so responsibly!