Another short post I’m afraid, more coming, honetly! This time out we have the absolutely giant hadrosaur Shantungosaurus.Here we have a life reconstruction that stands outside the Geological Museum of China in Beijing with me acting as a scale. As you can see, it’s massive and yet as far as I can tell quite a bit smaller than the supposed 17 m in length that this genus could reach.
Although known from only incomplete skeletons, there is enough of Shantungosaurus from the various specimens known to accuraely reconstruct its anatomy pretty accurately and as hadrosaurs are pretty conservative (head crests aside) one would expect to be able to scale them pretty accurately to judge the size of even a very incomplete specimen. Nevertheless, that figure of 17 m is probably a bit of an exaggeration though perhaps not much of one – the musuem also holds part of a sacrum and that is enormous in its own right. Perhaps understandably we are rather fixated on sauropods or theropods when it comes to giants, but it is well worth remembering the enormous sizes of some of the ornithischians. Even if we clipped off a fem meters in length this would porbably remain one of the longest and heaviest ornithischians – it’s not all spinosaurs and diplodocoids.