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Re: Vertebral spines on sauropods...
In a message dated 12/13/98 3:24:49 AM EST, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< The ends of the spines on *Dicraeosaurus* are broad
anteroposteriorly (front-to-back) and as such suggest the support of a
tendon or ligament from the top to proceeding or succeeding spine.
This suggests muscles between them, and that discounts a fin. >>
This works fine for _Dicraeosaurus_, but _Amargasaurus_ is different. Strongly
doubt that _Dicraeosaurus_ had cervical fins, for reasons you note; the
vertebrae must have been buried in flesh. But in _Amargasaurus_ the anterior
cervicals have slender bifid neural spines from fourth cervical back (third
cervical has single tall spine, not bifid; first and second cervicals are
atlas and axis, and as I recall cannot have tall neural spines), becoming
progressively thicker and shorter into the dorsal series, where they begin to
acquire broadened tops. This suggests that the vertebrae were buried in flesh
throughout, but that the fleshy part became thin paired fins along the top of
the neck itself. Arching of the neck would have fanned out the fins, providing
dramatic and spectacular display.