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ANKYLOSAUR CLUBS



At last I've gotten hold of Coombs' ankylosaur club paper published last year
in Can. Jour. Earth. Sci. Though I haven't read all of it yet, emphasis seems
to be on the fact that he doesn't think lateral flexibility was great in the
tails of these animals (a synsacral complex ?often incorporates fused proximal
caudals) and motion in the vertical plane was just about impossible.

Now I know from the spiel they had in 'Earth' some time back that Thulborn's
mimicry theory caused quite a storm here. Perhaps this is the chance to view the
issue in a new light: if Coombs' says that vertical flexibility was a no-no,
is he dismissing Thulborn's hypothesis? Personally I was expecting Coombs to
have a go at the mimicry idea, and prove that clubs were employed in combat. He
didn't, but does his evidence counter it, or at least imply that it's
improbable?

For the mimicry thing to work, the ankylosaur has to have its club raised at
around what would be normal above-ground height of a hadrosaur head, and that's
pretty high really. Presumably (and, as illustrated in Karen Carr's, err,
illustration.. no comment) the animal would raise its hind quarters while
lifting the tail. So, are the two notions compatible? But, err, didn't Thulborn
start off by saying that flexibility wasn't high enough for anything other than
close-range whakkity-whak... (sorry..).

This is not a feeble attempt to inject some discussion into a sobered and
mourning community. It just looks like it.

"What time is it _now_, Mr. Wolf?"  "It's suppertime!"
"We're gonna need a bigger boat!"

DARREN NAISH