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Re: spinning stegos

At 01:22 PM 7/23/98 -0700, you wrote:
>I have heard, read some stuff about how stegosaurs defended themselves.
>They were thought to be rather slow and that the plates ont the backs
>were not particularly useful as armor per se.  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.  does anyone know of stegosaur bones found with predator remains
>that would support or dispute this little scenario?

For what it's worth, I remember a show on PBS that had some animated footage
of a Stegoaur defending itself.  To illustrate (very crudely):


The stegosaur is the "U", with the two ends of the letter being the head and
the spiked 
tail.  The "*" is of course the predator.  On the show, the stegosaur turns
slowly with the predator as the latter attempts to circle around.  It is on
all fours and maintains this shape, with the tail and head kept forward.
When the attacker lunges, the stegosaur, which holds the tail in a kind of
"cocked" position, flicks out and whacks it upside the skull.

Can't remember the show, but the animated clip was impressive enough that I
used the scenario in one of my stories.


M.J. Murphy

The Shapes of Things are Dumb.
-L. Wittgenstein