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Submitted on
May 26, 2012
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Bitter sailed sauropod of the south by ScottHartman Bitter sailed sauropod of the south by ScottHartman
Amargasaurus was named for an arroyo (and town) near where it was discovered named "La Amarga". The name means "bitter" in Spanish, and the namesake has characterized the debate as to whether the elongated neck spines supported two closely-placed sails (which would have to meet at cervical 2), or whether the upper parts were covered with a keratinous sheath (i.e. a horn-like covering).

The data is fairly equivocal, but it's worth noting that any sails would either have to have lots of skin folds, or else the neck would basically be stuck in one position, as the long spines would basically lock it in place if they were bound to each other tightly with skin.

Other than the neck spines Amargasaurus is a pretty non-descript dircraeosaurid, although the fourth trochanter on the femur is lower than I've seen on any other sauropod.

Update: Just soft-tissue updates, although this also brings a scale bar and a rigorous version, so you can see how speculative that tail really is.
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JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist
I love this dinosaur!
PedroSalas Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
The spines are used for drying clothes. Ask Grandpa Rex!
AlysaTaladay Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It would seem to me that to have enough skin to allow mobility on an animal that size, as you suggest, the neck would be also be weighed down significantly more than if they were just covered in keratin, which I would imagine (although I certainly don't claim to know anything about it) would require more muscle and energy out of the animal just to support itself. That seems a little unreasonable, although sometimes nature does things that seem unreasonable. The more we find out about dinosaurs, however, the less this seems to be the case. Is it at all possible that the keratin, if it had it, could have borne some sort of bladed or serrated formation for defense?
Sfoulkes Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013  Professional General Artist
Scott im going to be sculpting Amargasaurus and im in a fix with this crazy neck. i have spent many hours studing this structure and im not so sure im going to restore it will the cervical spines sticking outside the skin? it seems very dangerous having neck vertibrea that is exposed and not prtected by muscle and flesh. all sauropods faced the danger of predators attacking the necks ,and to not have these parts of the skeleton pretected makes me wonder tht maybe entire structure was incased in a fleshy hump like acrocanthos neck. the neck would still be flexible but not as much so as other sauropods. the confusion is with the sharp pointed ends of these processes, it cries out for keratin covering? your thoughts?
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hi Shane - I really struggle to see the spines totally encased in flesh - we're talking about a major restriction in neck mobility (far behond what we see in Acrocanthosaurus). I agree with the SVPOW team that the Potto is the best model: [link]

In my reconstruction you'll notice that much of the spines still play their usual role in supporting muscles and ligaments, but the thinner top portions protrude out (and I've shown them being covered by keratin sheaths). You could even go a little higher with the muscles up front if you want - I'd consider right under the top of the first spine (which is single, not paired like the others) to be the maximal extent of soft tissue.

As for it being dangerous to have neural spines exposed - the portion that is above the rest of the neck doesn't have a direct functional role, so if it were to break it would be painful but not debilitating. Keratin sheaths would reduce the chance of breakage, and perhaps more importantly pokey protrusions above the neck might help to protect the neck overall from attack, so may well actually make the animal safer.

Still, until someone looks at the histology of those neural spines we just won't know for sure, so you have some latitude here in your reconstruction. I'm looking forward to seeing the results!
robosawrus Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013
I like this one, theribcage looks more diplodocine than the reconstructed ribcage of the skeletal mount, probably more lifelike in the end.
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
More than 90% of skeletal mounts screw up dinosaur ribs. All of the dinosaurs we put up during my time at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center (maybe 18 or so) had properly articulated rib cages, but after that there's only a handful of such mounts in the world I'm afraid.
ZEGH8578 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
I just realized, this is the first time I see Amargasaurus' rigorous skeletal, neato!
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, it looks to me like everyone else has just been illustrating the mount without realizing which parts were reconstructed.
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