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Re: Elasmosaur necks (was mamenchisaur necks)



---RAY D STANFORD <STARSONG@prodigy.net> wrote:

>     You are, naturally, quite welcome to your opinion that, "Long
> necks...evolved to reach high fodder, not graze", but this seems to
me to be
> a very GIRAFFE-BASED opinion, and it is disproved (as presented in
your
> post) by the marvelously long necks of certain marine reptiles!  

Ray, aren't the rules different on land than in the water?  

>They do not
> use these to reach "high fodder", clearly.

Actually, according to Judy Massare, when it came to elasmosaurs, the
plesiosaurs with the *really* long necks, they did (more on this below).

> But such necks were probably
> useful in quickly snatching any prey within reach, and probably
aided in
> swimming as anyone with a rudimentary grasp of fluid dynamics can
> appreciate.

Massere in a lecture at the AMNH a few years ago opined that the necks
were not used to wriggle about lunging in all directions at fish, but
were rather used to avoid the tell-tale bow wave that just such
lunging would have produced.  

Her theory (and she argued it convincingly): the elasmosaur would lay
with its body amidst the bottom rocks and using its long slender neck
would stealthily poke its head into schools of fish much closer to the
surface so that the bow wave would be little larger than that produced
by a fish itself.  Then it would have seafood.

As to the neck aiding in swimming, I'm no physics genius so can't
comment firsthand but, once again quoting Massare (a person with at
least a rudimentary grasp of fluid dynamics), the neck would have been
a huge impediment to agile or speedy motion in the water.  Marine
reptiles are her thing so I'm inclined to give her opinions
considerable weight.

Best,

Larry
ps: Ray, are you the same Ray Stanford from Texas who was waiting for
the UFO's in the 1970's?  I'll bet you get asked that all the time. 
Your e-mail address made me suspect so.  Do you recall this fellow, or
are you him?  If so, any luck?
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