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Re: Sauropod tails



        Reply to:   RE>Sauropod tails

  In chinese martial arts there is a weapon called a whip-chain.  It is
simply a number of cylindrical metal tubes about five inches long all
attached together.  The length of the chain varies from about 7 to 10 feet lon
g.  It is used to spin around and hit the maniacally laughing villan to stun
or at least grapple him.  Bakker (sorry) made an observation that makes a lot
of sense.  The last 10 or so feet of a Diplodocid's tail is constructed in
the same way, but instead of the bones being held together by a chain link,
they are held together by  tough, tensile, elastic organic material.  If this
is considered too week to stun, I have a proposition that involes a weaker
material... a willow branch.  My brothers and I used to have fights with
these things, and man.. they HURT.  A boney whip chain like tail that is
longer and faster could easily knock out a human, and probably stun a
predator.  I wonder what would happen to the outside of a snake I whipped my
brothers with it.  Indeed, it's delicate ribs would be crushed, but sauropod
tails do not have the same structure, they would be tougher.  Would the snake
wind up being frayed?  If it slammed agianst a rock perhaps, but if it hit
flesh I'd tend to think it would be fine.
  Sorry for the gross analogy....and you may be wondering about my
relationship with my brothers as well as my childhood.  The doctor says I'm
O.K now.

David Krentz

--------------------------------------
Date: 12/4/97 10:23 AM
To: David Krentz
From: vonrex@gte.net
A whip doesn't have to hit you teribbly hard to hurt like hell.  I don't
think sauropods got where they were by being feeble, and they didn't start
out big.  Elephants probably use their tusks and intraspecific combat
mainly because who else will fight with them?  They also use their trunks
as weapons- my father was literally thrown through the air by a blow from
an elephant's trunk when he was young.  Sauropod tails still seem like
something you'd want to watch out for, to me.

> >1.  Don't other animals (like Alligators) use their tails
> >defensively?  What are the reasons paleontologist reject defensive
> >use of tails by sauropods?
>
> At a guess: a sauropod tail is *far* less robust than an alligator's.
> 'Gators have great honking *big* tails.