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DEAD STANDING SAUROPODS



Hey folks.

Well, little Jack Horner gave his talks at the BM the other day. I missed out,
but I hear they were actually pretty good - even if the subject matter was the
usual kind of stuff he covers (tyrannosaurs were scavengers, ceratopian bonebeds
etc). The talk about dinosaur herding would have been especially fun to hear,
as Horner spoke about skeletons of juvenile sauropods that are preserved
standing up. Interpretation is that they got stuck in mud - theropods then ate
the bits above ground. This exact same situation has been recorded among African
elephants, livestock such as sheep, and an indricothere fossil. I may be mis-
remembering, but I think some evidence that the sauropod juvs had been trodden
on by adults was mentioned. The fossils Horner referred to were from Wyoming and
thereabouts: apparently a sauropod from Dorset, England, is preserved standing
up too.

Dinosaur herding has become my investigative topic of the week, by way of
lemmings. Mike Howgate is giving a talk called 'Herding Dinosaurs - Another
Myth?' at the up-coming Dinosaur Convention (Conway Hall, Red Lion Square,
London W1, 26th July). Mike thinks that dinosaur 'herds' are actually just mass
aggregations caused by over-abundance of food. Like you get in lemmings. I look
forward to deconstructing his bizarre case.

Oh, and another surprise from Horner. Though he is still sticking to the
proverbial guns on tyrannosaurids being scavengers, he does actually think that
carcharodontosaurids were active predators. His reasoning for this was that
carcharodontosaurid teeth are laterally flattened blades, whereas tyrannosaurid
teeth are blunt rounded spikes. I'm not sure either description is truly
reflective of reality...

Thanks indeed to Tom for the info on the ornithomimid figures in _The
Dinosauria_. I vote ectothermy for the dinosaur physiology thing. 

"I'd rather set my head on fire and put it out with a sledgehammer"
"I'd like to see that"

The countdown continues: 18

DARREN NAISH