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Rearing up on hind legs (was Re: Parrish's neck work ...)



On Fri, 30 Apr 1999, Ronald Orenstein wrote:
> What is
> >interesting, I think, is the amount of ventriflexion (how far these
> >sauropods could bend their necks downward) that is possible -- you can
> >make Apatosaurus bend its neck so that its head is looking up at its
> >feet!  
> 
> I am curious that no one has mentioned rearing here.  If any sauropods
> could rear, there would be no need for them to flex the neck upward to any
> degree as the rearing would do that for them - but a considerable degree of
> ventriflexion might be extremely useful to a rearing sauropod trying to get
> at some tasty foliage on the far side of a tree.  Of course, if rearing was
> part of their behaviour then Parrish's discovery does not mean that they
> could not feed in trees - only that they had to rear to do it.  (PS - I
> have not read the paper in Science)

This has implications besides just feeding.

Mating, for example. Some sort of rearing capability is needed here.

Defense. With the neck always so low, it makes for a critical
target.

What does Parrish's work say about side to side motion? One
consequence of limited mobility is there are places you can't
go. Like a thickly forested area, since, with their size,
maneuvering around trees becomes difficult. (I suppose they
could knock them down, but this won't work in all cases.)
This scenario really makes them vulnerable to predators, and
inclines me to think of sauropods as being better suited
to more open areas.

So much for necks. What about tails?

rich