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re:Dinosaur Hunting techniques



     > >(and what with all the fused tendons along most therapods' tails,  
     > >you don't see the completely supple spine like in a cheetah,       
     > >anyways. Therapods spines seem to have been reinforced to prevent  
     > >exactly that kind of movement.)
     
     >Actually, cheetah tails are held about as rigid as they can be, 
     >except at the base.  Cheetah's and other big cats use their tails as 
     >dynamic  stabilizers, to turn on a dime at high speed.  This is 
     >exactly the condition we find in the Dromaeosauridae.
     
     Don't cheetahs tails remain curved during a run during a turn?
     And not straight out behind them but up over the back during a 
     straight-out run?  
        Salukis, Greyhounds and other swift dogs mirror the same movements 
     during a run (don't tell me they haven't been tested for 
     acceleration). (they don't display nearly the same spine-extension, 
     though)
     
       My mom raises, breeds, and shows AKC champion Scottish Deerhounds, 
     where adult males outweigh cheetahs by a bit;(she's got one male that 
     weighs 140 lbs), where they stand a good foot taller at the shoulder, 
     and a good 2 feet longer, and were developed to do the same sort of 
     thing cheetahs do:(ie: bring game down on the hoof during a chase, 
     rather than a pounce or slash)
       She lure-coarses them over rough ground and the chase involves a rag 
     dragged across a course with lots of switch-backs which force the dog 
     into high-speed turns as you discribe, with the tail a major aid to 
     weight-shifts....that's why the tails on Deerhounds are longer than 
     the length of the leg in the standard.
     
        However, though the tail is stiff, it curves in a variety of ways 
     that I don't see the reinforced tail of therapods doing.  Just how 
     flexible do the tendons allow the tail to be?  Are we talking full 
     rotation of the tail at the point it joins up to the hip?  I see that 
     in deerhounds (I've been smacked in the face by tails often enough to 
     know just how flexible they can be)
     
       I've seen a young adult male cheetah at the Marine World in Vallejo, 
     Cal.  I spent some time studyung it's feet, and was amazed at just how 
     much it resembled my mom's dogs in build.  Cheetahs have such tiny 
     heads to be compared to T rex. Not having seen all the T rex 
     individuals you have, I bow to your expertise on T rex gracility, but 
     cheetahs seem to be just the wrong animal to compare T rex to.  A 
     Bengal tiger, perhaps, but not a tiny-jawed, spine-bouncing, 
     stubby-clawed cheetah.
     
     -Betty Cunningham
     (bcunning@nssi.com at work)
     (bettyc@flyinggoat.com in the studio)
     
     (the wrong legs on the T rex at AMNH?  I never knew that, thanks!)