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Re: Jobaria and the Elephant Commit Suicide



Larry Febo said (quotes deleted):

----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Febo <larryf@capital.net>
To: Richard W Travsky <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 7:35 AM
Subject: Re: Jobaria and the Elephant Commit Suicide

    Wouldn`t rearing up also get the vulnerable head-neck region out of
immediate harms way? Seems like this is where a large carnosaur might strike
first.... and maybe that`s why all the missing sauropod heads???. ....(just
guessing here!)

    That surely seems like a real possibility, to me.

    Yesterday at NGS, Paul Sereno pointed out that Jobaria probably could
not lift the neck very high from a standing position (deduced from the
structure of the very complete cervicals), so such a rearing-up maneuver
might well be the best defense for that all-important, highly fragile head.
Paul also pointed out the scull as being extremely light and fragile.

    He also clearly illustrated (as does the Jobaria web-site, I believe)
that Jobaria was well 'designed' to allow such rearing up.  After all, the
head and neck would surely be the most vulnerable parts if Jobaria were on
all four legs, and, as you point out (and as did Sereno) the sauropod mass
that could crash down from that position would be, well, crushing (and a
good defense), to say the least.

    Any sauropod less equipped to rear up could easily loose its head in a
battle, and quickly.  Perhaps such a rear-up ability on Jobaria's part could
be why Sereno has found heads that are reasobably complete.

    Ray Stanford

    Yes, I know that the scull bones of sauropods are the lightest and most
fragile of all their bones (speaking generally) and that drifting
down-stream surely accounts for some missing sculls, but I suspect that head
biting by theropods might account for many of the missing sculls of
sauropods.