# Re: Sauropod tails

```You have to be accurate so as to not to hit anything else BUT your
target.  Whips need LOTS of clear space to operate to keep from
entangling or striking something on the way to the target (trees,
bushes, junior, the neck of your last dinner guest...) and thus lose any
momentum gathered.

Cracking a whip in any area (or even just throwing it out to full
extention sans noise) means you need the full length of the whip clear
in at least a half sphere of equal radius (you throw it back to get as
much momentum and then bring it forwards as fast as you can-with the
actual whip travelling in a nifty wave/arc type of maneuver that does
not use a small space.

Of  course my expierence is as a rightie, I'm not sure how an animal
would use one that had no particular left or right bias (tails generally
being in the middle).  I can picture a nearly clear space going
vertically to a sauropod on a regular basis; living within tree browse
might make it tough to get preficient at left throws or right throws.
So I can see it raising it vertically to a scorpion-like arc over the
back and slamming it down, but my experience shows me 1) that this
doesn't get you a whip crack, and 2) that whips move best in the same
plane as the ground (gravity does funny things to the dynamics in other
axis).

To do a proper whip crack it would need the length of the tail to the
exact left or right of it's body (at the base of the tail-point of
rotation) totally clear, plus the length of it's tail in height clear
above it's body at the point of rotation, plus the length of the tail
(if not a noise maker, this length could be slightly reduced) to the
forward part of the body ahead of the point of rotation (the hips?
further down the tail?) on either the right OR left side of the body,
plus nearly the whole length of tail clear towards the actual target
(you need the whole area to make the cracking noise).  Somebody who
knows the actual measurements of likely sauropod tails do the math and
tell us how many cubic feet or meters would be needed to swing the tail
in a clear area and I'll tell you how likely I think it is being used as
a whip!

Seems to be a lot of room required to operate a life saving maneuver
that could not be used at close quarters, in a herd, or in moderate
forest cover.  If I compare it to a charge by a larger animal (which
look like they take a lot of room but are mostly display, well heck,
they could probably charge too, so it seems odd to develop a defense
that would be even more area-covering.  Do you suppose maybe Greg and
James are both right and sauropods just tripped T rex and other large
carnivores as they got up to dangerous speeds?

Also, if it were part of MY body, you'd dang well bet I'd watch what it
was doing so that I didn't cut it off.

-Betty Cunningham
(PS; the toughest part of the whip throw to control is the
rebound/recoil after the crack or strike-that's the reason amateurs
nearly castrate themselves)

-Betty

Berislav Krzic wrote:
<<You don't have to be accurate to deliver a whip lash - the target will
be hit on any point of the whip's trajectory. Besides, animals learn to
aim quickly. Remember that many lions died because of the broken jaw, an
injury inflicted by zebra's kick with hind legs. This maneuver requires
even greater precision. Zebras and horses practice this kick in their
game daily. Sauropods probably practiced their whipping skill, too..>>

>

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• References:
• Sauropod tails