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Re: spinning stegos

Joe Daniel wrote:

<I have heard, read some stuff about how stegosaurs defended
themselves. They were thought to be rather slow and that the plates on
the backs were not particularly useful as armor per se.>

  Not as armor as in ankylosaurians, or even titanosaurs, but what do
you think the pointy tips were for? :)

<That leaves the tail spikes.  Being conservative the tail can protect
only 1/4 of the body. Now, stegosaurs support roughly 75% on their
hind legs.  So I thought that it would be a simple matter for them to
briefly rear up and take a side step allowing them to spin very
quickly.  I am not suggesting they spun like a top during combat, but
considering their center of balance, surely they could spin faster
than a predator could circle around them. This would not work so well
for pack hunters as the stegos would not be able to spin around fast
enough to keep several small agile hunters away.>

  Have you seen the recent episode of _Paleoworld_ where animation was
shown, originally produced for the second or third episode of the
remarkable _Dinosaur!_ series ("Tale of a Bone", I think it was); that
animation featured a stegosaur, a ceratosaur, and a nasty scenario
that no doubt would have occured. The stegosaur shocked me by wagging
its plates, but it most certainly seems to have spun about on the hind
leg (one at a time) to fling the tail in the direction of that leg
(and the targeted theropod).

  Now, as for whether it was possible, the legs, the short back the
high neural spines of the back and tail . . . yes.

Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
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