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Re: Sprawl, speed etc




On Tue, 6 Feb 1996, Scott Kowalke wrote:

> I think one of the main problems a few of us are having here is that Rob
> is continually comparing the ceratopians to automobiles.  They were not in
> possession of wheels.  A four legged creature has an entirely different system
> of locomotion than a four wheeled automobile.  An animal can turn sharply
> because its feet are not always in contact with the ground; it can put one 
> foot
> down, shift its weight and pivot on that foot.  Whereas a car's wheels are all
> on the ground at all times (at least unless they're doing stunts or having an
> accident), they cannot shift their weight in a different direction because the
> have no muscles to contort their bodies. Also, even if they could shift their
> weight on one wheel, the wheels spin, making the hypothetical shift in 
> direction
> (which is already impossible) that much more difficult.

        Obviously, you don't know what you're talking about! Interpreting 
dinosaurs in terms of automobiles is one of the revolutions now occurring 
in natural history. It actually makes a lot of sense, and not just for 
ceratopians. Take a look at the nasals of Parasaurolophus. They are 
obviously designed so that the dinosaur can honk angrily at dinosaurs 
that get in its way while running, or when the herd comes to a standstill.
 And it also provides explanation for the nasal boss of Pachyrhinosaurus
and the crania of pachycephalosaurs: they are used as bumpers. Amargasaurus' 
twin fins were used as spoilers- they provided downward force while 
running at high speeds, improving traction and handling, as in Indy cars. 
While all these dinosaurs were running here and there, honking, bumping 
and turning at high speeds, Spinosaurus, Ouranosaurus, and Stegosaurus 
stood around and sold the space atop their spines to advertisers. Hope 
this clears things up a bit. 

        -nick L.