Object of the Month:
Sauropod femur

 

Richard, Academic Keeper at the Lapworth Museum of Geology , describes his choice of a fantastic Jurassic dinosaur bone as Object of the Month.

Video transcript here

My name’s Dr Richard Butler. I’m the Academic Keeper here at the Lapworth Museum of Geology and my Object of the Month is this fantastic Jurassic dinosaur bone.

This bone comes from rocks at about 165-million-year-old in the Cotswolds, about 50 miles to the south of Birmingham, and it was  donated to the Museum a few years back. It belonged to a large, plant-eating dinosaur belonging to the group of dinosaurs that we call sauropods. So this is the group that includes animals like Brontosaurus, Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and so on. Dinosaurs with very, very long necks and long tails.

This bone is a femur, so it’s the upper leg bone and it’s from the right side of the body. And what we can see is at the top of the bone we have the part of the bone which would have fitted into the hip socket, and at the bottom we have the knee joint. And then we can see this large lump on the rear surface of the bone – and that’s where powerful muscles would have been attaching in life which would have pulled the leg backwards as the animal was walking along.

So we’re not exactly sure which dinosaur this belonged to. It may possibly have belonged to a dinosaur called Cetiosauriscus, which is known from rocks of the same age but in other parts of the Midlands. Cetiosauriscus would have been up to about 12 tonnes in weight. That sounds pretty big, but for a sauropod it’s actually pretty small. Sauropods got up to maybe 80 tonnes in size and their femura could be up to two metres in length.

We're very lucky to have this is very unique specimen here in the Lapworth Museum of Geology so please do take the opportunity to come and see it.