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Re: Tripodal Sauropods

Peter Buchholz writes;

>Why do you assume that there would be a great deal of energy lost by
>rearing?  It's basically a moderate pull with the back muscles and then
>simply having the whole body fall on the tail.

The point is that it is far more efficient to keep all four feet firmly on
 the ground.  As I have mentioned before, this position would be so
 unstable, that the animal would have to constantly fight to keep itself
 from toppling over (even with the tail).  Although a triangle is one of the
 strongest and most stable geometric designs, this stability is overruled
 when the CG is placed quite high (remember the problems we were having with
 three-wheelers a decade ago?).

>Probably not much more energy would be expended (proportionally) by
>you if you did 20 situps.

Obviously, you haven't seen me do situps, I wouldn't call that efficient. :-)

>There would obviously be more energy expended by Sauropods less well
>adapted for this (like Brachiosaurs or Camarasaurs), but still the
>energy requirements would be minimal.

These guys are built like dinosaurian giraffes and wouldn't need to rear to
 feed, since their head would already be at a high level.

>You seem to forget that on average most Diplodocoids (Diplodicids +
>Dicraeosaurids) were five to fifteen times the mass of their largest
>prdators and that they carried hefty thumb claws that could easily
>have impaled an attacking Allosaur.  If I was an Allosaur, I would
>be more scared of attacking a tripodal diplodicoid for fear of
>having it fall (on purpose) on me, than attacking a quadrupedal one
>and have it whip me with its tail.

Unless the Allosaur attacked from behind, where the animal would be the most
 vulnerable.  If the diplodicid were to fall on the Allosaur, it would end
 up on it's back, and unfortunate position; not to mention painfull, as it
 would break a rib or two in the fall.

Come to think of it, I might be able to accept the idea of the tripod stance
 as a combat stance between two bull diplodicids, but that's another story.

Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

"If anything is going to go wrong, it'll happen at maximum velocity."
                        -Red Green