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Re: Sauropod Neck movement



>While we're talking about the certainty with which we can draw
>conclusions about extinct animals, keep in mind that the above
>assumption isn't necessarily correct.  The most obvious reason to >go along
with the assumption would be that animals need to drink.  >But there are
known exceptions (e.g. kangaroo rats) -- animals that >obtain all of their
water from their food.

-- 
Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)

There I go again, making silly assumptions.   While there may be many good
and necessary reasons for a Sauropod to get it's head down at ground level:
 including  parental care of eggs or infant sauropod, recovering a dropped
conifer branch,  or gathering up gastroliths; Micky is correct that they
didn't necessarily have to drink.  The tiny mammalian Kangaroo Rat is a good
example.  Here's a better one.  I used to keep Desert Tortoises, and every
spring after hybernation I would allow them to spend time in a shallow pool
of water.  Darwin, my large male weighed about 9 lbs., and he could take up
about 2 ounces of water thru his cloaca.  Thereafter he did get all the water
he needed in his vegeterian diet, and never took a drink per se.  So, perhaps
thirsty Sauropods waded into the swamp from time to time, relaxed their
cloaca, and took on water like a sinking ship.   Now that conjures up an
image, doesn't it?   A little flip drop kick soccer move to catch
gastroliths, and ignore your offspring and that takes care of having to move
your neck/head down to the ground at all.   Hmmm?  Is that very likely
though? 

Perhaps it is, who knows.  I think it's dangerous to assume that animals
could not perform some tasks because we can't imagine how;  while looking at
fossil evidence that suggests they could.  That's a  narrow minded approach
as opposed to seeking further evidence of and speculating on how they could
perform the tasks as the fossil evidence suggests.  Usually the simplest most
obvious explanation is the best.   Is there anything about Sauropod neck
anatomy that precludes a wide range of motion, up and down or side to side?
 If not . . . . then, as another distinguished member keeps reminding us:
  "if it walks like a duck, etc. etc". 


Bill Hunt - Hunt Studios

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