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Re: Sauropods seventy feet high!

John C. McLoughlin wrote:

<<"The two animals studied are in a group known as
Sauropods. These are massive animals with long tails
and long necks and small heads. The Apatosaurus, for
instance, is thought to have weighed up to 100 tons,
stood up to 70 feet in height and had a tail-to-head
length of about 130 feet.">>
  Looks like a typo; even with a vertical neck,
*Apatosaurus*' head would not have been more than 30
or so feet off the ground. The shoulder would have
required you to stand on the shoulders of your buddy
an' pal to reach, but it wasn't that tall, at least
not as tall as *Brachiosaurus*' (that's a 3-man job
there); and *Brachiosaurus*' head, based on an
absolutely vertical neck, would only be 50 feet.

<In the distant days of my youth, it was averred by
responsible paleontologists that large sauropods could
not even walk on dry land, a notion that I found
difficult to swallow even then. The idea that
sauropods must have kept their heads and necks within
easy reach of any horrible animal lurking in the brush
is equally difficult to get down.>

  Parrish and Stevens (1999) suggest that
*Apatosaurus* could have held its head at max 17 feet
off the group. An allosaur standing still, in T-bar
position with forebody and tail balancing perfectly,
would not have reached 15 feet high. Tilting up,
maybe, and then there's all the other "allosaurs" of
the Morrison, like "Saurophaganax" or "Edmarka," as
well as "spinosauroid" *Torvosaurus* would would have
out-stripped _typical_ *Allosaurus* in height.

  However, going at the head is not particularly
feasible. No matter what, the sauropod would not let
some old allo try and behead it; the allo, instead,
and like nearly all modern predators, may have found
it more enticing to go after the neck, avoiding the
rear end, and the snapping chompers of the frontmost
end. The only real dangers would be the forelimbs and
the formidable thumb-claw, the weight, or the "whip"
tail. The head is not usually an option, and I do seem
to recall that it had been suggested here (elseone)
that sauropods may have snapped jaw-wise in defense.

  It's a pity we haven't found a flattened allosaur
yet. Roadkill anyone?

- Greek proverb: "Knowledge is Inherent;
  Stupidity is Learned." -

Jaime A. Headden

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