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RE: Sauropod tails



> -----Original Message-----
> From: luisrey@ndirect.co.uk [SMTP:luisrey@ndirect.co.uk]
         ... 

> I haven't seen any mention on the fact that dinosaurs like Shunosaurus,
> Omeisaurus and possibly Mamenchisaurus had tail clubs. This is the
> definitive proof that sauropods used their tails defensively and
> offensively. I still find the cracking sound of and Apatosaurus tail
> rather
> irresistible (at least as a theory).
> 
> 
        [Nathan Myhrvold]  

        Shunosaurus and Omeisaurus are a great examples of a defensive tail
club.  The paper on supersonic tails compares their tail clubs with the
diplodocid whiplash tail.   They are very different, particularly with
respect to how the joints are protected by the increased diameter of the
tail club.

        Another post suggested that Nunchucks or Whip-Chains or other
martial arts.  Bob Bakker has made this comparison to me also.   The problem
that I have with it is that the joint surfaces would be involved in the
impact.  Unless they are protected by some soft tissue (keratin or some
such), it seems unlikely to me that you could prevent an impact from
damaging the joints.

        However defense and supersonic tail cracking are not mutually
exclusive.    It is possible that both functions existed.  

        Nathan