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Re: DIPLODOCUS NECKS
Varner's statement that it surely was energetically more expensive for
Diplodocus to rear up than to breath down its hyperlong trachea is
unsubstantiated. Rearing was merely a matter of briefly using some muscles to
control body posture during rearing, gravity via the mass of the tail did most
of the work, once reared up the cost was no higher than standing on four legs.
The cost of overcoming the enormous dead space of the trachea occurred with
every breath, a few times a minute.
Conifers are actually high in calories, and the energy to be gained from a few
mouthfuls easily makes up for the energy needed to walk a few extra meters to
reach food with a short neck.
Giant animals are very energy efficient in terms of locomotion. The notion
that sauropods easily able to walk at elephant-like speeds (recorded via their
long stride trackways) had no need to have a super neck just to low browse.
Because they had high metabolic rates in order to power speeds beyond those
reptiles are capable of, and the generate the super high blood pressures
required by super tall necks, sauropods benefited by being able to access the
immense floral resouces found in tree crowns.