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Re: Sauropod Feeding Stance--no joke.
[I thought I re-sent this yesterday, but apparently I didn't. I don't
think you'll get it twice, but apologies if you do. -- MR ]
Wait a minute, everyone. Maybe this original posting (that sauropods
turned in circles to mow down food) was made in jest--but maybe not. It's
an idea I believe was made in good faith and deserves an equally good faith
reply. I must say I'm dismayed at the kind of responses I've seen so far.
We know that elephants can be quite destructive to the local
environments during feeding...I've subscribed to the interpretation of
sauropods feeding with the head held low (thus helping "solve" the
blood-pressure "problem") with the neck swung back-and-forth in wide arcs
since first reading about it in the 12/91 issue of _Natural History_
("Lifestyles of the Huge and Famous" by Peter Dodson). In fact, now that I
think about it, I don't see how a herd of migrating sauropods could be
anything BUT destructive!
As to determining whether sauropods actively engaged in "crop circle"
behavior using their necks and tails problematic, though, and may be
unprovable. I'm no expert but sauropod tails seem to be a little too
fragile laterally for this function...I suppose one way to check it out
would be to look for unique fracturing in the tail vertebrae; but of
course, this may not be proof either.
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