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re: bipedal apatosaurs & stegosaurs - tails for defense



Brian Franczak wrote:

>will give you an idea of how difficult it would be for that animal
>to keep an eye on a predator attacking from behind. The rear is not
>the best place for armament, and stegosaur tail spikes were probably
>used for other behavior than defense, possibly display or courtship.

An animal doesn't necessarily have to keep an eye on a predator to get in a
good hit.  When a lion is attacking a zebra, the latter will intersperse it's
gallop with a well placed kick in an attempt to drive off/injure the former.  A
retreating stegosaur (any estimates for how fast this critter could move?)
would have it's tail thrashing about to strongly suggest that the theropod
should reconsider it's dining selection for this evening.  :-)

When one looks at the animal kingdom, any unusual feature located at the rear
of the animal is going to have an primary anti-predator function (porcupines,
tail-losing geckos, ankylosaurs, etc.).


Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

***
"Lemon Curry?"
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