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Blood flow in Sauropods



Didn't someone show by measuring the neck tendons and vertebral processes
that diplodocids and mamenchisaurs couldn't have arched their necks
particularly high, leading to conjectures that they fed by standing in one
spot and sweeping their super-long necks around in a semi-circle, low-
browsing like heavy vacuum cleaners with long hoses?

How about postulating some horizontally-inaccessible food source such as
low-browse plants that grow in the middle of marshes, so the sauropods
couldn't just march over to it (they'd get stuck in the mud), so they have
to stand on the edge and reach over the marsh with their ever-lengthening
necks?

Another horizontally-inaccessible food source might be at the edges of
dense forest groves, where a long neck could "snake" between tree trunks to
reach understorey plants.  I figure this scenario less likely, since if the
grove were so dense, lack of light would preclude growth of a lush understorey.
Furthermore, with its head stuck in the trees a dinosaur wouldn't be able
to see predators sneaking up from behind.

So sauropods are back to the swamp again, except that instead of floating
in the swamp because they're too heavy to move on dry land, the sauropods
are too heavy to go into the swamp and so have to keep their bodies on dry
land, sending only their necks and heads!

Perhaps there's an analogy to be made with Tanystropheus (the super-long
necked Triassic fish-eating lizard) after all, standing on the bank and
reaching over a muddy shore to reach a food source some distance from
the water's edge.

Mike Bonham        bonham@jade.ab.ca
``So, here I am, sitting by myself, talking to myself.  Now THAT's chaos!''