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Re: A Tale of Two Tails

On Sat, 10 May 1997, Richard L. Dieterle wrote:
> I said in part: 
> "...  Whacking large carnivores, broom-like, with the tail as a whole unit is 
> another possibility that has been raised.  ...  However, the problem is that 
> collisions are in some sense symmetrical: is a Hadrosaur tail really tougher 
> than a Tyrannosaur leg?  Whose bones are going to crack first? ... "
> Rich Travsky's reply: 
> "Defense should not be thought of strictly in terms of breaking a limb (TRex
> leg in this case). A simple knock down may be all that's needed, the 
> hadrosaur then utilizing this opportunity to run while the rex tries to
> pick itself up. Anything that slows down the predator can be translated
> into escape and survival."
> In order for this to work, the Hadrosaur would have to turn its back on the 
> Tyrannosaur (etc.) and await the attack, since a bipedal animal running full 
> tilt can't use its balancing organ this way without itself loosing its 
> footing. 
> And there is the matter of leverage: to execute a good swat, the Hadrosaur 
> would
> have to remain relatively stationary.  Now just standing there waiting for T. 
> rex to approach at the right angle, would probably lead to more fatalities 
Not to pick nits, but wouldn't this also be the setup for the limb
breaking scenario? 

> rather than less.  However, if the flow were bone-cracking, disabling the 
> large 
> carnivore, then an intimidation factor would come into play which might deter 
> them from attacking all but the smallest and most disabled individuals.  
This assumes rexs hunted in packs and further that they would be susceptible
to intimidation. 

> However, it is precisely this that seems so unlikely.  In any case, I 
> wouldn't 
> want to be in the shoes of a 10 year old kid 30 seconds after he knocked 
> Arnold 
> Schwartzeneger off his feet and took off running.  
> [...] 
There's been considerable discussion on this list in the past about the rex's
ability to pick itself up (small front limbs, etc.) A knockdown could buy
considerable time. Most modern predators do not want to make careers out of
one animal. If they miss on the attempt, it isn't always energy efficient
to continue. WHen hunting herd animals, there's always another one.

Besides, a 10 year kid that could knock down Arnie is no ordinary kid.

+----------+    Rich Travsky   RTRAVSKY @ UWYO . EDU
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