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Re: Vertebral spines on sauropods...

On 12/10/98 (1:37a), Jaime A. Headden wrote:

<Brian Franczak wrote:

<<Admittedly, the neural spines of _Amargasaurus_ are ridiculously
long, but is there any actual precedent to back up the assumption that
they form the bony core of "spikes"? What animal -- living or dead --
has such a structure?>>


(That's like asking what animal, living or dead, has plates on its back 
like stegosaurus?)

< I may be mistaken, but aren't the neural spines flattened, and not
round? Wouldn't this make spikes less likely, as a flat bone would
tend more to bend than a round one, and therefore less effective in
any form of combat or intraspecific interaction? A flat spine would be
more useful, I'd think, for supporting a sail, as originally assumed
(Coria and Salgado) but I may be wrong there.>

I thought that at least some of the spines of Amargasaurus are forked at 
the top, as if they supported a dorsal ligament for support of the neck.  
If so, the spines must have been connected by a skin membrane (or were 
there holes through the "sail"?

Intraspecific interaction doesn't have to involve physical contact.  
After all, lizards that have the neck frill don't push each other by 
their neck frills, and brightly colored birds don't push each other with 
their bright colors.

Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu