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Yeah, I'm still here, just sitting back and quietly browsing through messages
on solifugids (there's a Sherlock Holmes story featuring one of 'em, BTW) and
such. Gingerich (1984) created the infraclass Ornithodelphia for the monotremes,
BTW (within subclass Prototheria, other infraclass being Eotheria). [Anyone
mention Prototheria and I'll punch them.... ask Gareth for the proof - I broke
his jaw, well, slight exaggeration]


Having abandoned sauropods some months ago, and leaning more towards theropodian
phylogeny (as evident from my recent postings), I am drawn back to these
spectacular animals by the spiny and saily ones. Most of you are probably aware
that, while the fascinating _Amargasaurus_ has long been illustrated with a big
cervical 'sail' (all started with Brian Franczak - his illustration of
_Amargasaurus_ was, incidentally, the first excursion funded by the Dinosaur
Society), there is now a school favouring a series of neck spines, as opposed
to a sail. I was recently informed, however, that there is a small lash-back
"no, no, neck sail" school. SO WHICH IS IT? I have seen restorations in which
the two rows of cervical spines form a single, thick sail, and others where they
form two parallel sails. One of the latter restorations also makes out that the
sails were mobile, and that the spines could be folded at their base. Hmmm, this
really doesn't seem to be born out by the glances I've had of the mounted
specimen. _Amargasaurus_ is certainly related to _Dicraeosaurus_ (and there are
at least two species of that), but Macintosh advocates _Nemegtosaurus_,
_Quaesitosaurus_ and ....??? (am I right here??) the rebbachisaurs as relatives

Nemegtosaurus and Quaesitosaurus look dicraeosaurine, but there's some 
speculation that they're not much to do with any of the diplodocids. I'd better
say no more without getting permission! And rebbachisaurs are just totally cool,
if not extremely confusing. Besides the dicraeosaur theory, they've also been
paraded as brachiosaurs and as diplodocid-relatives (i.e. diplodocids besides
dicraeosaurines). So, the question here concerns the 'sail' of _Rebbachisaurus_.
What I've seen of the neural spines in this dinosaur show that they were flat-
sided blades, something like those of fellow sail backs _Spinosaurus_ and
_Ouranosaurus_, and unlike the tapering spines of _Amargasaurus_. Can anybody
help in getting more info? Were rebbachisaurs really sail-backed? Were they
diplodocids or brachiosaurids? Or what? 

Of course, this area opens up a vast field on speculations concerning sails,
thermoregulation, physiology and display structures. Well I think it's fun...

"One fine afternoon, some village girls were tending their sheep. The sheep had
been quietly browsing, but suddenly they started away as if frightened by
something. When the girls ran to the spot, they found a boy of 13. His small
eyes twinkled with horrible ferocity, his canine teeth protruded over his lower
lip - 'Well, my maidens', he said in a harsh voice, 'which of you is the
prettiest?''What do you want to know for?', they asked, 'because I shall marry
the prettiest', he replied. 'But why do you look so dingey and black?', they
asked. 'Because I wear a wolf-skin sometimes', he replied.... to be continued

"Through the Force - things you will see, other places: the future, the past,
old friends long gone"  "Hann? Leia!"  "Hmmm, control, control.. you must learn
control!" "I saw.... I saw a city in the clouds"
"No I don't have a landing permit"
"It is true that a reptile makes a poor mammal, but it is equally true that a
mammal would be a failure as a reptile"
"He's one of the best actors... in the world really.."