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Re: Sauropod feeding
James M. Norton, Ph.D. writes:
>Another factor to consider in assessing selective pressures for long
>necks in sauropods is the increase in tracheal dead space and airway
>resistance associated with the long neck. The resultant increased
>work of breathing must have been offset by some other very important
>advantage that would supply more energy to the creature than the
>increased energetic demands of breathing through such a long tube.
A slight tangent here...
Is it possible (and I'm no expert in biomechanics) that the
positioning of the nostrils approximately in the line of the neck in
sauropods evolved to adjust for these airway problems? I assume that
taking out the 45-90 degree bend in the air passage may have reduced
the likelihood of dead space, eliminated a corner which must have
accounted for some resistance, and, incidentally, reduced the
likelihood of airway blockage.
Jonathan R. Wagner