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Fwd: Nemegtosaurus: brach like skull?



In a message dated 96-07-14 19:38:32 EDT, Paul Willis wrote:

> I have thought os another possibility; perhaps it was to stop
> conifer needles going up their nose. Most conifers (as I am familiar
> with them) tend to have radiating clumps of relatively stiff,
> needle-like leaves.  Surely,attacking such a clump for a mouth full
> of food could result in having an uncomfortable amount of fodder
> stuffed up the schnozz. Perhaps it is better to move the nostrils
> out of the line of attack. At worst, it creates a wonderful cartoon
> image.

The problem I have with this fairly well-known scenario is that it seems to
have taken several tens of millions of years for the sauropod nostrils to
move back "out of the way."  In that amount of time, sauropods could surely
have evolved non-coniferophagous forms (for example); and what about the
"uncomfortable amount of fodder stuffed up the schnozz" >while the nostrils
were taking their sweet time moving up the head?< The time frame within which
this feature appeared suggests a sequence of incremental improvements to some
internal, mechanical structure rather than a selectional response to the
vagaries of an external stimulus.