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Re: T.rex and elephants



John R. Hutchinson wrote:
> 
> Sean Connell writes:
> 
> >And elephants can't run due to the construction of their ankles.
> 
> Do you have a reference for this? I'm working on elephant locomotory
> biomechanics and have never come across a ref that corroborates that.

I don't know the reason why, but I know I've read that elephants cannot
run, if by "run" you mean the gait known as a "run" in dogs and a
"gallop" in horses.  I kinda thought it had more to do with shoulder
movement and sheer mass than with ankles, though.  

> Well, I can't. For one, elephants amble (not run; different gait and
> different mechanics) on four legs, not two. I don't have the ref to support
> this, but I think it's farily safe to say that most of their weight is
> supported on their forelimbs, too. I don't find it easy to compare
> theropods and elephants in terms of anatomy, although the overall hindlimb
> mechanics of large theropods and elephants might be similar, who knows?

Seems reasonable to me to say that the forelimbs are the main
weight-bearing limbs in elephants.  After all, you've got that great
awkward head and tusks up front, and not much behind to balance it.  (I
have the impression that until recently, it wasn't unusual to see big
African elephants walking around with forty or fifty kilos of ivory on
each side.)  And the forequarters of an elephant definitely look
stronger than the hindquarters.  

-- Jon W.