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Re: Sauropod tails

On Wed, 10 Dec 1997, Brooke Swanson wrote:
> Just a suggestion, but *if* the tails were used as a defense mechanism for
> clobbering therapods, would the damage inflicted on them just knock them
> off their feet or inflict some serious damage? IMO, it would be in the best
> interest of the sauropod to disable their attacker by seriously knocking it
> down (or using the cracking sound as a deterrent). If so, wouldn't there be
> some sort of paleopathological record? Do we see this anywhere? But I
> imagine it would be difficult to differentiate between broken ribs due to a
> normal fall versus those cracked by the impact of a sauropod tail.

See     http://w3.uwyo.edu/~rtravsky/big_al.html

for a pic of an allosaur with a broken rib. Naturally, there's no way
to tell how this wound was received. It's on the right side under the
scapula. I suspect a wound inflicted by a tail would take more
ribs with it. I'm guessing, this break might be consistent with smacking
into something like a rock (either smacking into something vertical, like
large rcok, or a fall on to the ground onto a rock). The smack could
well be the result being thrown by a tail strike, tho.

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Shaken, not stirred.  -  Jean Luc Bond