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Brachiosaur diet



And now a break from creationists, cyberbeings and meteor craters...
something about dinosaurs!

In looking at a reconstructed brachiosaur skull the other day, I noticed
something about it that reminded me, strangely enough, of the skull of
_Dimetrodon_.  I think it's been noted before, but both have a raised
coronoid process in the lower jawline and an articulation behind it and below
the tooth line.  Both also have a pronounced back slant to the rear of the
skull.  

In the case of _Dimetrodon_ I understand that the parallel back slants of the
skull and rear lower jaw line show that the jaw muscles worked in a somewhat
back-angled force vector, rather than straight up and down (as in
_Allosaurus_ and crocodiles, etc.), thus adding a rear-pulling force vector
to the bite and preventing the lower jaw from dislocating while the canines
were pulling hunks of meat from large carcasses.  

In the case of the brachiosaur, the meals would have been evergreen leaves or
needles, presumeably.  Considering the similar rear-pulling force vector of
its jaws one can imagine brachio clamping down on branches and raking them
off.  (No big news there!) The force vector of the denuded branches would
have tended to pull out the teeth and jaws, but were prevented from doing so
by the opposing force vector of the back-slanting jaw muscles.  Along the
same lines, brachiosaur teeth do not reach all the way back to the coronoid,
indeed a space is left there.  So brachios wouldn't have had to deep-throat
each branch, but rather they could  have come in from the side, allowing one
end to enter the side of the jaw full of needles and exit between the spaces
of the teeth at the front of the jaws, stripped of there greenery.

Deeeep thoughts from somewhere in St. Louis...