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Re: Dinosaur tails
<Now, I thought the one thing that dinosaur tails were _not_ was highly
flexible, like a snake. Sauropod tails, maybe, but I've had the
impression for several years that most theropods, and especially most
coelurosaurs, had tails that were held more or less rigid by a
basketwork of ossified tendons.
So why do so many artists _insist_ on drawing theropod dinosaurs with
highly flexible, snakey tails?>
Only troodontids had the basket-network of tendons---none others to my
knowledge have been found with ossified tendons. Dromaeosaurids lack the
tendons, but have the pre- and postzygapophyses and haemal arches
elongated and overlapping for over 15 vertebrae for the longest.
Now, the *Sinosauropteryx* that is most complete (specimen 2) was set in
a death pose with the back, neck, and anterior tail flexed into a
classic sign of rigor mortis, but the tail for nearly all its length is
strait, implying a) the tail was so stiffened it _could not_ bend during
dehydration or rigor mortis, or b) it lacked these to begin with, and
thus could not be flexed after death.
This would make one incredibly stiff tail, and meant that the
intervertebral joints were so derived as to prevent bending (cause for
point "a," above). I do not know what the paper says on this issue.
Maybe Tom Holtz or one of the other guys who've read the thing can
Jaime A. Headden
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