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Re: Airbagged(was Dive!Dive!Dive!)

Jeffrey Martz writes:

>     I'm afraid I don't have any hard data to back this up, but I'd 
>expect the difficulty of such a manuver increases with size.   I have a 
>hard time imagining an elephant sized animal rolling over when it falls.   
>It almost seems like a manuver like that would stress skeletal strength 
>for such a large animal more then falling. 

In the martial arts, one learns that the best way to take a fall is to work with
inertia; based on the whole concept of redirecting forces (this is why a 
weak person can take down someone much stronger, using judo).  The skeletal
stress would be considerably less due to the fact that the animal wouldn't be on
any particular bone for too long during the maneuver.

Granted, a 40' long T. rex would need a lot of clearance to successfully 
the roll, and could be prone to running into obstacles

{big snip}

>1) T.rex lived in a forested environment with quite a few potential 
>obstacles, and which might make it difficult to pick up speed compared to 
>a flat, open area.

Now this is a good point.  The only thing I could say to counter this, is to use
tigers and wolves as examples.  These guys seem to be able to run in forests 
little difficulty.  Of course, being quadrepedal would give them far greater
balance than Rex ever could've had, but it can show that a large animal can get
going pretty fast in a forest. 

>2) Some anatomical evidence (femur strength and the relative shortness of 
>the metatarsals) seems to indicate that T.rex wasn't incredibly speedy.

Perhaps these features could represent the combined needs of being a running
predator, as well as living in a bayou?

>3) The significant likelyhood and risks of T.rex falling increasing with 
>speed, and

Then again, perhaps Rex if sensed that he was about to fall, maybe it could get 
foot out in front of it quickly enough to regain it's balance.

>4) The fact that they larger animals of T.rex's environment might have 
>the same problems in the dealing with environmental obstacles as T.rex, 
>and also generally had shorter legs anyway,

It probably wouldn't be able to go at full tilt all that often, but I don't 
think that
means that the animal didn't have the *potential* to go fast.  The hind limbs of
Triceratops have the gracile form of a runner (not to mention the
MONSTEROUS muscle scar located behind the hip socket), and had the potential
for high speeds.  IMHO, Rex would have to outspeed T-tops if it wanted it's meal
on the hoof, so the need for a running Rex does exist.

Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

"Son, your ego is writing checks that your body can't cash!"