Two American Museum of Natural History paleontologists have described a new species of sauropod, Erketu ellisoni, that had an extremely elongated neck, one of the longest necks proportional to trunk height of all known sauropods. The truly impressive feature of this dinosaur was not its bulk or overall length, but the length of its neck-especially in comparison to the rest of its body. Most sauropods had long necks extending from large bodies, but E. dlisoni took this to an extreme. A single neck vertebra from E. dlisoni measures more than half a yard (nearly two feet) long. Based on the partial neck recovered from this specimen, the Museum team estimates that the full neck was more than eight yards long.
The new finding is described in the peer-reviewed journal American Museum Novitates by Daniel T. Ksepka, a graduate student enrolled at Columbia University who studies at the American Museum of Natural History, and Mark A. Norell, Curator in the Museum's Division of Paleontology.
The fossil, which also includes a chest plate, two lower leg bones, and a potato-sized anklebone, was discovered in 2002 during the exploration of a new site, Bor Guve, as part of the Museum's annual joint paleontological expeditions to the great fossil beds of Mongolia's Gobi Desert with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. …