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Re: Jobaria and the Elephant Commit Suicide

Matthew Bonnan wrote:

> I again emphasize the Caudofemoralis longus tail muscle.  Elephants have no
> real tail to speak of, yet the tail of sauropods had muscles which were
> intimately tied with locomotion.  How are these tail/femur muscles being
> accounted for?  If you bend your knees so that the femur swings forward, how
> far can that muscle stretch?  Would such a muscle restrict how far you can
> rear up?  At this point, I am not satisfied with current sauropod rearing
> explanations.

       Matthew, would you mind clarifying a few points for an amateur with
little experience examining sauropod skeletons?  If a sauropod was to rear up,
why would the hips or knees have to be flexed at all?  It seems to me that any
degree of leg flexion would be counter-productive. Vertically oriented limb
bones with straight columnar shafts would decrease bending stress, which, as you
have pointed out, would be quite high.  Also, if both caudifemoralis muscles
contracted at the same time with the feet planted on the ground and the legs
straight, would not that bring the femurs closer to the tail and thus actually
aid in rearing? Slow relaxation of them and the spinal extensors would prevent
the behemoth from crashing down and breaking its arms.
Thank you, as always, for your time.

For those with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon, I offer this info from the
textbook: Wilderness medicine: management of wilderness and environmental
emergencies edited by Paul Auerbach, M.D.  In the movie Jurassic Park there was
the scene where the young girl petted the sneezing Brachiosaurus, and it has
been mentioned before on this list the extreme unwisdom of this act.  I offer
the following data to support the idea that just because animals are herbivores,
it doesn't necessarily mean that they are nice.  Domestic animals such as cows,
bulls, and horses kill 800 people a year in Europe alone.  A death has been
reported from fat embolism caused by fractures after a donkey bite.  A wounded
African buffalo may lay in wait for trackers or may double around and come up
behind them on the trail often with fatal consequeces for the humans.  Camels
have bitten handlers to death.  Unlike most herbivores, the camel has canine
teeth and its bite can severe a person's limb.  Twelve percent of veternarians
have been bitten by a pig (O.K., so they're omnivores). Elephants kill by
trampling, goring with the tusks, or striking or throwing with the trunk.  Once
the victim has been run over or skewered, the elephant kneels on them and
crushes them.  A few stories suggest that elephants may become man eaters.  In
1944, in a Zurich zoo, a person with a particularly close relationship with an
elephant, actually slept in a room next to its stall.  The next day all that was
found was a human hand and toe.  So please refrain from petting any cloned
dinosaurs no matter how friendly they look.  --Ken Clay, M.D.