Dinosaurs in Literature, Art & History... Page 36
Dinosaurs in Literature, Art & History... Page 36

Pre-Discovery, Fine Arts Brachiosaurus Depiction from Portugal?

There is precious little data about dinosaurs to transcend. What the museum scientists know about Indians, whales, and elephants is more than enough to mimic real life.

But when it comes to dinosaurs, all they really have to work with is an incomplete jumble of bones. ....
And the elephants are a special case. There's a running joke among professional dinosaur artists that goes like this: Given just an elephant skeleton, they'd probably render a titanic hamster....Discover Magazine..What Did Dinosaurs Like, and Will We Never Know

We've used that quote in this section before, but its important to re-establish the idea that most of the dinosaur depictions that we see today are based on incomplete skeletons or bones and that in reality, few if any artist working today really knows what the dinosaurs actually looked like.

We believe that this early 19th century "coffee pot" clearly depicts the head of a sauropod--and after due consideration, we believe it is a depiction of a brachiosaurus. we chose brachiosaurus because it is known for its high, domed head.

An alternate identification might be a camarasaurus, which has a slightly flatter skull than the brachiosaurus. Clearly though, it is the head of a sauropod.

The term dinosaur was first coined in 1841--and this piece is believed to be from 1825-1850. The first sauropods weren't discovered until 50 to 75 years after this silver piece was cast.

Not only that, but early depictions of sauropods were "primitive" and certainly did not evidence the fine features and the "modern" look of this sauropod. Most sauropod drawings of today conform and show the skin of the brachiosaurus as being closely stretched across its skeletal features. This silver depiction is of a more "fleshy" sauropod. Clearly, the artist was familar with his subject and just as clearly his knowledge could not have come from fossil discoveries of that time. They were still to come-and of course as we've said, there is no comparison between this piece and the early dinosaur depictions even more than 100 years later.

According to the Natural History Museum of London, three dinosaur fossils have been found in Portugal; the brachiosaurus, the camarasaurus and the


Description of Piece

Coffee Pot
By: Unidentified artist,
Portuguese (Lisbon)
19th century, about 1825–1850
Metal; silver, wooden handle
29.5 x 26.7

Curved steamed body, 4-sided, heavy moulding below long contracted neck. Flattened domed cover. On 4 claw-ball feet.

Curved spout flat at back, with animal's head tip. Angular wooden handle. Cast parrot on ball, finial screwed to cover. Bands of floral repousse at base, above and below mid-moulding, at neck and on cover.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston



Brachiosaurus with photo of actual skull for comparison.

Sauropod dinosaur fossils were first found about 100 years ago. Until fairly recently, only a very small number of fossils had been found, and never, until VERY recently, had nearly an entire animal fossil been found.

Most true scientists recognize and acknowledge that many assumptions have been necessary toward any understanding of these long lost creatures, so they accept the uncertainties of many of the characteristics that have been attributed to them.

An early dinosaur fossil researcher (Marsh) found much of the fossilized bones of a brontosaurus (in 1879, at Como Bluff), but he did not find a skull. In an unbelievably un-scientific (and scientifically disgusting!) move, he found a skull at a considerable distance away, where no dinosaur fossils had been found, and he claimed that the skull belonged with the skeleton. (He certainly knew that was not true.)

For a hundred years, all the display brontosaurs in museums worldwide showed that same (wrong) skull! It has only been in the past several decades that the error (or deception) has been uncovered….. Logical Inconsistencies Regarding Dinosaurs C Johnson, Physicist, Univ of Chicago



While Brachiosaurus has traditionally been characterized by its distinctive, high-crested skull, many scientists now assign the specimen this depiction was based on to the genus Giraffatitan.

However, one complete Brachiosaurus skull is known. This skull, which had been the skull Marsh used on his early reconstructions of Brontosaurus, was studied by Carpenter and Tidwell in 1998 and found to actually belong to one of the North American Brachiosaurus species.

The skull of Brachiosaurus is more camarasaur-like than the distinctive high-crested skull of Giraffatitan, and it lends support to the existence of Giraffatitan as a distinct genus.

The great size and weight of these creatures would seem to pose a problem for both creationists and evolutionists. If these animals lived only a few hundred years ago, how could they have been unknown to some?

And, how did they move around in this gravity-or evn pump blood to their heads? On the other hand, for evolutionists who believe in uniformism, again how did these huge creatures move around with such size and mass--since uniformist believe that the gravity that exists today is as it was millions of years ago?

We believe that the huge dinosaur specimens found are from the "garden of eden period" with conditions much more favorable than todays, including reduced gravity and reduced harmful uv from the sun. After the flood, we don't believe that dinosaurs or the other megafauna ever reached those huge sizes


Great Physical Mass of Brachiosaurs and Leg Structure

Most scientists believe that these sauropods had a living weight of up to 80 tons. (Apatosaurus [Brontosaurus] - 20 to 35 tons; Diplodocus - 11 to 15 tons; Brachiosaurus - around 80 tons)

It is fairly simple to estimate the weight of any dinosaur. Nearly all organic materials have densities relatively similar to that of sea water. By measuring lengths, widths and heights, it is possible to determine the approximate volume of a dinosaur. Multiplying by the density of sea water gives an approximate weight.

As an example, fossils of Brachiosaurus seem to imply that its trunk was around 12 feet in diameter and 20 feet long. Using the method suggested above, and thinking of its trunk as a cylinder, the volume V is given by (PI)*D2/4 * L or about 3.14 * 144/4 * 20 or about 2,260 cubic feet.

At 64 pounds per cubic foot (the density of nearly all biological material, essentially that of water), that gives about 145,000 pounds. Add some more for its head, neck, tail and feet, and you have around the 80 tons mentioned above. (That's pretty much how the estimated weights were first identified by the experts!)

That enormous weight, in itself, is amazing but not impossible for a living creature. The modern day Great Blue Whale actually weighs more than this.

There have been stories of Great Blues, which have become beached at low tide, and their ribs have allegedly broken under their own weight. This is reasonable. While floating, the buoyancy of the water supports most of its weight, so a moderate-sized bone structure can maintain stability and bodily integrity.

But on land, without that buoyancy, it could not survive. This sort of argument has been used regarding the largest sauropods to suggest that they must have lived in swamps or very shallow seas, in order to support their weight.

Other scientists believe that these large dinosaurs lived on dry land, that their legs and muscles were actually strong enough to support and move around this vast weight. Such scientists may be overlooking the fact that the mass we are talking about is equivalent to about 50 automobiles!

The leg bones and muscles necessary to support and move this huge weight on dry land would necessarily be near the absolute limits of cell and bone and muscle fiber strength. The estimated mass of the brachiosaurus is on the scale of 20 elephants.

Elephants' legs are rather stout to support the several tons of their weight. The proposed dinosaur mass would require MUCH more stout legs, possibly to an unrealistic extent.

For a leg to support four times the weight (on dry land) the leg bones and leg muscles must each be twice as thick (so their cross-sectional areas are four times as great). It doesn't actually matter if those bones are round or oval or square, or if they are solid or hollow.

In the case of a brachiosaur that had a body weight of 16 times that of a 10,000-pound elephant, those bones and muscles would all have to be four times the thickness (sixteen times the cross-sectional area) that is present in the elephant.

Where the elephant's leg may be about a foot in diameter, the brachiosaurus' legs would therefore have to be about four feet in diameter (if it was to be mobile on land).

Existing fossils do not support such extremely thick legs. The fossils of leg bones are certainly thick, but they are not four times as thick. It is far more likely that the swamp hypothesis has more validity, and that these extremely large dinosaurs would have been susceptible to broken leg bones if they would ever attempt to walk on land. (Medium and small sized dinosaurs did not have this limitation and DEFINITELY were land creatures.)

If such a huge animal had a leg bone break, its possibility of survival would drop to nearly zero. It would no longer have the mobility to go to food sources and it would be immobile and easy prey for many carnivorous predators to attack and kill.



A related subject also applies. A human might weigh 200 pounds and have a foot that has an area of 1/4 square foot. While walking, there are times when one foot is in the air. At these times, the entire 200 pounds is supporting on that 1/4 square foot, meaning that there is 800 pounds per square foot pressure between the foot and the surface it is on.

On soft or muddy ground, a person's footprints may press a half-inch into the ground, leaving molds of the person's foot after the ground dried out.

The large brachiosaurs appear to have had feet that had around three square feet area, and at least two of them were probably always in contact with the ground while such a creature would have been walking.

The 160,000 pounds of its weight would therefore be supported by six square feet of area of contact between feet and ground. This gives a pressure of around 27,000 pounds per square foot, almost 40 times that of a human and many times that of any known modern creature.

Such an animal walking on soft or muddy ground probably wouldn't sink in 40 times as deeply as a person, but certainly very deeply. It is very likely that such footprints would be pits around a foot deep, in even moderately soft ground, because of the enormous pressure created from the weight of the creature.

Some fossilized footprints have been found that have been identified as being made by large dinosaurs. These footprints tend to be just an inch or two deep. They still have enough detail to be identified as dinosaur footprints, so they are not shallow, eroded remnants of earlier, deeper ones. This implies that less pressure (weight per square foot) may have been present when the footprints were made (or the ground was extremely hard).


Some of these footprints are found to be spaced a substantial distance apart. Some investigators have compared that to the probable leg-length and similar relationships among modern creatures, and have concluded that the footprints are so far apart that they had to have been made by brachiosaurs or other sauropods RUNNING!

For many reasons presented in this essay, such large, massive, cumbersome creatures almost certainly could only move very slowly, if on land. Running would be entirely out of the question.

In addition, why would such an animal have ever developed the musculature to be able to run? These giant creatures are believed to be herbivores, so carnivorous pursuit of prey would never be necessary.

There would be no value in being able to outrun predators, either. The exertion and energy waste from running would be truly foolish for a creature that already probably had to eat almost continuously to maintain even basic metabolism for 160,000 pounds of cells!

A logical explanation for shallower-than-expected footprints and longer-than-expected stride might exist. If such a creature lived in a shallow sea or swampy environment, where buoyancy supported much of its weight, it's footprints in the sea bottom would be shallower (due to less weight pressure on the foot) and farther apart (due to a floating/swimming effect).

Of course, preservation of such footprints represents a problem. The sea would have to remain extremely calm, so the underwater footprints were not immediately obliterated by wave action.

The sea floor would have to be some material like clay rather than sand, to better have well-defined impressions. And some sudden supply of additional sediment would have to appear to quickly fill in the footprints such that they could be preserved for us to later find.

Note: The pressures mentioned above are static pressure loads. In each situation, during walking, dynamic variations would also apply which would momentarily substantially increase all of the creatures' footprint pressures. These dynamic effects would be relatively similar for each creature, so the simpler static pressures were used for clarity of discussion

Source:Logical Inconsistencies Regarding Dinosaurs C Johnson, Physicist, Univ of Chicago

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