Lost with the National Museum of Brazil – Gondwanatitan – Luto #MuseuNacional

On September 2, 2018, the National Museum of Brazil (Museu Nacional) was gutted by fire. 2018 was the Museu Nacional’s 200th year.

This post is one of series in which I discuss an important specimens that may have been lost to science in the blaze.

Alexander Kellner and Sergio de Azevedo described a new genus (and species) of sauropod dinosaur called Gonwanatitan. As sauropods go, Gondwanatitan was pretty small, only about 7 meters in length.

Size comparison between the sauropod dinosaur Gondwanatitan and a human. Gondwanatitan was 25 feet long ( about 8, 3 meter ), and small for a sauropod. CREDIT: Conty

Only one species of Gondwanatitan is known, Gondwanatitan faustoi, named after Dr. Fausto L. de Souza Cunha, a former curator at the Museu Nacional and a person deeply involved in the excavation of this important specimen.

The fossil material used to define this new species (MN 4111-V) is housed in the paleovertebrate section of the Museu Nacional. At least we hope the specimens are still there.


Kellner and Azevedo, 1999, A new sauropod dinosaur (Titanosauria) the the Late Cretaceous of Brazil, in Tomida, Rich, and Vickers-Rich, eds., Proceedings of the Second Gondwanan Dinosaur Symposium: National Science Museum Monographs, no. 15, p. 111-142

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