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Sauropod Neck Posture Paper

Hi All -

        Sorry if this has already been mentioned on the list -- I either
don't recall it or was in the field and didn't get the message.  But since
sauropod necks have been in the news lately, this is an interesting
contrast to the recent paper in _Science_ on diplodocid necks...  I can't
vouch for the correct name of the journal, since it's one of those that
abbreviates the name in the header, but it's pretty close.

Christian, A. and Heinrich, W.-D.  1998.  The neck posture of
_Brachiosaurus brancai_.  _Mittelungen Museum Naturkunde Berliner,
Geowissenschaften Reihe_ 1:  73-80.

The paper calculates (yes, there is math in paleontology!) the compressive
forces acting on the intervertebral discs along the neck of _B. brancai_
and compares said forces to the cross-sectional area of the discs.  In a
given posture, the patterns of compressional force vs. cross-sectional area
can be compared, and where they don't match, the posture is regarded as
unviable.  The conclusion is that _B. brancai_ held its neck more or less
vertical, leading to a specialized high-browsing feeding strategy.

           ____/_\,)                    ..  _   
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                     Jerry D. Harris
                 Fossil Preparation Lab
          New Mexico Museum of Natural History
                   1801 Mountain Rd NW
               Albuquerque  NM  87104-1375
                 Phone:  (505) 899-2809
                  Fax: ; (505) 841-2866