Article: The axial skeleton of the dinosaur Suuwassea emilieae (Sauropoda: Flagellicaudata) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Montana, USA
Vertebrae of Suuwassea demonstrate an interesting combination of plesiomorphies and autapomorphies among known members of the Flagellicaudata. The cranial cervical vertebrae have proportions close to Diplodocus but resemble those of Apatosaurus except by having greatly reduced cranial and caudal spinozygapophyseal laminae. As a result, they have craniocaudally compressed, caudally positioned spinous processes excavated on all sides by fossae. The cranial thoracic vertebrae are again similarly proportioned as those of Diplodocus but are morphologically similar to those of Apatosaurus. The most distinguishing feature of Suuwassea caudal vertebrae are the short, amphiplatyan, distalmost 'whiplash' caudal vertebrae. These may be either a retention of or a reversal to the plesiomorphic sauropod condition because classic flagellicaudatan, biconvex distalmost caudals occur in the Middle Jurassic of England.