The Rutland Cetiosaurus: the anatomy and relationships of a Middle Jurassic British sauropod dinosaur



A relatively well–preserved specimen of Cetiosaurus oxoniensis, from the Middle Jurassic (Bajocian) of Rutland, United Kingdom, is described in detail. The material includes a nearly complete cervical series, representative dorsal vertebrae, a fragment of sacrum, anterior caudals, the right femur, and numerous rib and limb fragments. Contrary to previous suggestions that this specimen possesses 14 cervical and ten dorsal vertebrae, it seems more probable that there were at most 13 cervicals and at least 12 dorsals. The vertebral column displays several autapomorphic features which supplement the generic diagnosis of Cetiosaurus, including: (1) a stout, anteriorly directed process located at the top of the neural spine of the twelfth (?) cervical vertebra; and (2) the presence of lateral pits, separated by a thin midline septum, below the transverse processes of middle dorsal vertebrae. Cladistic analysis indicates that Cetiosaurus is probably the sister–taxon to the advanced neosauropod clade. This relationship affects the distribution of particular character states that have played an important role in determining sauropod phylogeny.