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RE: Parrish's neck work ...




On Friday, April 30, 1999 9:52 AM, Matthew Bonnan 
[SMTP:Z966341@wpo.cso.niu.edu] wrote:
> Hey There:

> Well, I would suggest you read the paper in science.
[snip]
> >From my own experience with sauropod limbs, sauropods become weirder
> and weirder the more you deal with them.  They cannot be confidently
> compared to any living vertebrate, except perhaps in simple, gross
> form or shape.  Plus, remember that sauropod bones are gigantic, weigh
> 100s of pounds, are not easy to manipulate, and most of the good stuff
> is mounted with lead and steel pipes running through and obscuring
> valuable data.  This is why I'm glad Mike, his collaborater Kent
> Stevens, and many other sauropod researchers are beginning to use
> computers to finally articulate and move the bones around.
>
> I wouldn't be too surprised if someone told me that they found a
> sauropod with five legs and a rotary engine. =) Well, okay, maybe I
> would, but the point is these animals are a pain in the butt to work
> with, and anyone who tries to work with these big beasts has my
> respect.

I meant no criticism of Parrish's work.  It was precisely the strangeness of 
sauropods that I was alluding to -- Well.  OK.  I admit to being snide about 
the use of phylogenetic bracketing to deduce behavior.  But that has nothing to 
do with the sauropod neck study.  The neck problem is simply another example of 
the fact that sauropods are, as you very aptly put it, weird.  "Weird" in the 
same sense as "quantum weirdness".  Almost nothing about them makes intuitive 
sense.  The low-neck model helps solve the blood pressure problem, but then why 
bother with a long neck if you can't elevate it, not mention the mechanical 
problems connected with feeding...

  --Toby White