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Re: DINOSAUR digest 579

Stan Friesen responded to my speculation, writing:
> Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 08:33:37 PDT
> From: Stan Friesen  <swf@ElSegundoCA.ATTGIS.COM>
> To: dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu
> Subject: Re: Long sauropod necks: a weapon?
> Message-ID: <9509151533.AA23149@mailhost.ElSegundoCA.ATTGIS.COM>
>  From: Steve Jackson <sj@io.com>
>  > A big, long, heavy horizontal neck would carry a lot of inertia, even if it
>  > didn't move very fast. Suppose a sauropod defense technique was to knock a
>  > much smaller predator off its feet with a neck strike - not with the little
>  > head, but with the broad slab of neck - and then trample it? ... 
>  > 
>  > I'd like this better if we had any evidence of head horns or armor.
> How about *neck* "horns"?  Have you ever seen a picture of Amargasaurus?

No, and I'd like to. Can you give me a pointer to something reasonably
credible? I could use it!

I didn't know about the giraffes. Interesting!

Someone pointed out earlier that these strikes would be slow, and most
smaller predators would be amply graceful enough to dodge them. And of
course that's true. But *one* good hit, followed up by a trample, would
take the predator off the sauropod's "Dangers to me and my babies" list, and
out of its own gene pool. An attack that *will* finish you if it hits 
would command some respect even if its odds were poor, and create
selection both among the prey and the predator.

Hmm. And if the neck-swinging sauropod is not itself the target of the 
attack, but is hoping to blind-side a predator which is attacking another 
member of the herd . . . ?  Just might work. And if the predator is 
actually clinging to its intended prey, and is thwacked by a big heavy 
neck - instant two-dimensional carnivore, no trampling necessary.

Still, I concede that this is a Wild-Ass Guess about the utility of those 
big necks. Easy to speculate, difficult to falsify, and I can't imagine 
how it might be proved.

 Steve Jackson - yes, of SJ Games - yes, we won the Secret Service case
Learn Web or die - http://www.io.com/sjgames/ - dinosaurs, Lego, Kahlua!
          The heck with PGP keys; finger for Geek Code. Fnord.