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Re: swimming dinosaurs



In article <1.5.4.16.19970213084550.37cf49e0@mail.uwrf.edu>, Rob
Meyerson <Robert.J.Meyerson@uwrf.edu> wrote
>Bonnie Blackwell writes,
>
>>2.  would sauropods be able to swim by keeping their tails and necks
>>near the water surface (and hence the lungs near the surface) with just
>>their heads marginally above water)?  or would they have too much 
>>mass below the water surface pulling them downward to be compensated by
>>inflated lungs near/at the surface?  if the adults could not swim thus,
>>would the juveniles have been able to do so?
>
>I'm going to go out on a limb for this one (and I think I hear it snapping).  
>The shape of 
>the lungs tends to be outlined by the rib cage (since the heart and lungs are 
>the most 
>vulnerable, and most important, organs in the torso).  Since sauropod rib 
>cages are 
>pretty massive, then the lungs should have been just as massive.  IMO, a full 
>breath of 
>air would provide enough bouyancy to allow even the biggest of sauropods to 
>float, and 
>therefore swim, rather well.  Check out comparative anatomy textbooks 
>(preferably 
>dissection guides) for better details
>
Sauropods, specially the large ones, must have had a large stomach and long
intestines. Gas in these organs would also have helped in flotation. Pneumatic
bones would also have reduced the overall density. 

Gautam Majumdar                 gautam@majumdar.demon.co.uk