[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Diplodocid whip-tails



I read an article in a newpaper recently about a computer
scientist (Dr Nathan Myhrvoid) who suggested that diplodicid
tails were actually used as giant bull whips to make loud
cracking sounds. Does anyone else find this unlikely? The end
of a whip usually has to be replaced occationally because of
the damage caused by it breaking the sound barrier. Unless
sauropods had a very high pain threshold and could regrow the
ends of their tails, I imagine attempting to crack their tails
like a whip would be a painful and damaging exercise.

Getting back to that whole prehensile tail thing again, I could
see how such a device would be useful for a sauropod. The Australian
bettong, a small relative of the kangaroo, uses its prehensile tail
to gather nesting material for its underground burrow. Given how
dangerous it may have been for a sauropod to lower its relatively
defenseless head to within theropod grabbing distance, I would
imagine being able to use the tail to gather nesting material, or
whatever, would have been useful. This is just idle speculation of
course, but it may explain the thin whip-like ends of some
sauropod tails better than them being used to break the sound barrier.
Bakker once suggested that sauopods may have had trunks, although
not seriously if I remember correctly. Could the "trunk" have actually
been at the other end?
-- 
____________________________________________________
        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia

        Dinosaur Reconstructions:
        http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/4459/
        Australian Dinosaurs:
        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
____________________________________________________