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Re: A fundimental conundrum concerning gigantic theropods



Peter Buchholz writes;

>If this were so, a fundimental question arises?  If bipedality is _so_
>unstable, why is it EVER "selected" for?

Actually it is the unstability that makes being bipedal so cool.  It
allows one to turn on a dime (just watch kids playing tag), far easier
than a quadreped ever could.  All one has to do to turn, is to throw
your weight in a particular direction, plant a foot to keep your
balance, and you're off!

Further, being quadrepedal has a disadvantage in terms of being a high
speed creature, in that the front limbs get in the way.  When a
cheetah is running, all it's forward thrust is provided by the hind
limbs.  The front limbs do little more than keep up and provide
steering.  One could almost say that the front limbs slow the animal
down, preventing it from getting to the maximum velocity possible.  As
a result, it is a speed advantage to get one's front limbs out of the
way by converting to a bipedal mode.

Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

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