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Re: galloping sauropods?



In a message dated 24/10/98 21:41:40 GMT, you write:

<< I've seen some depictions of Brachiosaurs in a giraffe-like gallop, and
 some drawings of galloping ceratopsians, but no art showing a gallop/run
 for any other type of sauropod. Is there any reason for this, or did I
 miss some galloping sauropod pictures somewhere? Is there any
 physiological objection to galloping/running sauropods? I've read a
 little bit about the locomotion of the large dinosaurian quadrapeds, but
 most seem to focus on the ceratopsians.
 -Chris Srnka >>

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Dinosaurs is that they all seem 
to be larger than their lifestyle would suggest. Brachiosaurs was such a
massive
animal for example that it should have difficulty in walking. So galloping
would seem 
be out of the question. But contrary to this argument bio-mechanical
reconstructions
would indicate that they it was capable of at least a walking run - similar to
today's
Elephant. 

This paradox seems to apply to all life during the Dinosaurs time. I would
estimate that
Dinosaur life was about 2-3 time larger in linear size than today's life which
follows a 
similar lifestyle (as close as it can get anyway). 

Some of the problems this creates are very interesting. Here`s an extract from
my book
which highlights the paradox between the Dinosaurs size and life-style. 

==============================================================

The paradox of size and life-style

The giants of the past have presented palaeontologists with a paradox that
could make 
your head spin. One side of the argument indicates that the dinosaurs were too
large 
to move fast in case they injured themselves, but on the other hand the
detailed 
reconstructions indicate that they were agile, active creatures. So which is
true? 
It's the sort of problem which can seem impossible to solve. This paradox has 
resulted in two completely different views of dinosaurs. The dinosaurs were
agile, 
quick and warm-blooded - or the dinosaurs were slow, clumsy and cold-blooded. 

These two views have alternated with each other as the established view. The
first 
dinosaurs of the early 1800's were reconstructed as stout four-legged animals,
until 
further studies of the arrangement of their legs and muscles towards the turn
of the 
century showed that these animals must have been agile and fast. In Britain
Sir Richard 
Owen and Thomas Huxley described how various dinosaur characteristics were
birdlike. 
Over in America Edward Cope and Charles Marsh made similar connections between
dinosaurs and birds. In general the consensus among the best palaeontologists
of the 
time was that the dinosaurs were the direct ancestors of the birds of today -
and since 
the birds of today were agile the dinosaurs must have also been relatively
agile.

This view was generally accepted up until the First World War. Between the two
world 
wars the dinosaurs again became slow and lumbering as the arguments for their 
relationship to birds was forgotten. 

Recently, the connection between birds and dinosaurs has been re-established.
In 
America John Ostrom at Yale spent two years analysing the meat eating dinosaur
Deinonychus. His biomechanical analysis showed that it must have had high
levels 
of manoeuvrability and stamina. It was very birdlike. Later, he took the
connection 
between dinosaurs and birds further when his earlier studies allowed him to
see the 
relationship between the fossils of the dinosaur Deinonychus and the oldest
known 
bird, Archaeopteryx. Nearly every detail of the finger, shoulder, hip, thigh,
and ankle 
of the two animals was identical. The connection between dinosaurs and birds
was 
once again firmly established.

With the birds as the direct descendants of the dinosaurs it becomes
impossible to 
see them as slow lumbering creatures. The metabolic rate of birds is higher
than 
mammals so the dinosaurs must be reconstructed as fast and mobile animals
quite 
capable of dominating the land in spite of their large size. 

Perhaps the best description of what these dinosaurs might really have been
like 
comes from one of the world's leading palaeontologists Professor Robert
Bakker. 
In his book "The Dinosaur Heresies" he provides a clear description of how
these 
agile dinosaurs might have lived.  He describes sauropods capable of
stretching 
their long necks to reach the top of conifers whilst standing on their hind
legs.  
They might even have reared up on their hind legs to defend themselves against
the carnivorous dinosaurs of their time. When walking or running, their long
tails 
were held erect to counterbalance the weight of their equally long necks.
Among 
the hunters of the dinosaurs, he believes that Tyrannosaurus Rex, perhaps the 
most famous of all dinosaurs, was a fast and agile hunter.  The legs were
built 
for speed with massive muscles capable of propelling Tyrannosaurus forward at 
great speed.  The lung and heart cavities were equally large to enable him to 
pump the blood and oxygen required by his massive leg muscles.

 ====================================================

That's just some of Chapter 1. If you want any more of the Book you can
download 
the text only from my site at;

http://members.aol.com/dinox/book/index.htm

Regards,

DinoX