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ceratopsian carriage etc
I've just returned from SVP and (before that) the Paluxy River, where
Dave Thomas and I participated in filming a TV version of our
Scientific American article about R.T. Bird's theropod-sauropod chase
sequence of footprints. It'll probably be on the Discovery channel
sometime next year. We did some fun stuff, including one goofy stunt
that may even make people quit yammering at me about emus and motel
Well. Having been out of town, I was unavailable to comment about the
study Peter Dodson and I did of ceratopsian forelimb carriage. More
about that in a moment.
First, though, does anybody have a snail or (preferably) an email
address for Geoffrey J. Cox, who did the splendid restorations for
Beverley McCulloch's little book about moa?
OK, on to ceratopsians. You first must realize that Dodson and I made
separate contributions to that study, a qualitative version of which
appeared in the most recent Dinofest volume. Peter did the work on
the ceratopsid skeleton, and I did a rather elaborate geometric
analysis of the Ceratopsipes trackway. I presented both in my talk at
the New York SVP meeting. However, I have not studied ceratopsid
skeletal anatomy in any great first-hand detail.
Because of this, the day before I gave my talk I wandered around the
AMNH's exhibits of dinosaurs, mammals, and other tetrapods, looking at
their humeral and shoulder anatomy. I was indeed struck by
similarities of geometry of the proximal end of the humerus of
sauropods with ceratopsians, so much so that I went and grabbed
Dodson, and made him come look at the Apatosaurus mount with me.
"Somebody's sure to ask about this," I told him. "You'd better have
an answer ready."
Sure enough, immediately after my talk Greg Paul asked that very
question. I confidently deferred to my co-author, and he punted.
I asked him about this afterward, and he said he wasn't ready to
comment on sauropods vs. ceratopsians at that time. I wouldn't read
into this that Dodson was throwing in the towel, the inference drawn
by one of the contributors to this list. I expect that he will have
more to say about this at some point. I have held off publishing my
quantitative gibberish until he has the time to finish the anatomical
analysis; it's waiting in a folder in my desk (hey, Peter, you
listening? nudge, nudge).