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Re: sauropod feeding dogma*



On Tue, 26 Mar 1996, Rob Meyerson wrote:

> Consider how easy it would be for a theropod to attack Diplo's neck if it was
> held parallel to the ground.  If an Allosaur were to zero in on the neck, 
> about
> midway to the body, there would be no way for the _Diplodocus_ to raise it's
> neck in time to avoid the strike.  Indeed, the Allosaur could easily take a 
> good
> chunk out of the neck, and let the neck arteries do the rest.  Seems like an
> easy target to me.
> 
> I suggest that the neck was held somewhat aloft.  This would have the double
> effect of increasing it's browsing area, as well as being able to spot 
> predators
> from a good ways off.

        The vertebrae show that the neck starts from the back 
sticking straight out, except in Apatosaurus yahnapin, which had an 
arrangement something similar to Camarasaurus and Brachiosaurus, where 
the neck articulates with the back at an angle.
        The vertebrae also show that the head was carried at a 90 degree 
angle to the neck. Analysis of the of the semicircular canals is supposed 
to show that the head itself was held normally, with the snout pointing 
forward. So the back had to start out straight and later curve up so 
the head was held erect at the end. 
        As people noted last time, putting the tail between yourself and 
a predator was probably the best idea.