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You could lead a sauropod to water ...



... and it probably drank! =) Not to put a damper (boy, that was an awful pun) on anyone's sauropod speculation here, but just keep in mind that we find camarasaurs and diplodocids together in the river channel sands of Dinosaur National Monument. In fact, we tend to find these animals mixed together throughout most of the Morrison Formation. While I wholeheartedly agree that diplodocids and camarasaurids were probably pursuing different feeding strategies (you can even see statistically significant differences in their feet -- oh, wow, how incredibly cool), I have my doubts that camarasaurids were desert animals or were somehow conserving water like desert mammals and/or reptiles.

Camarasaurids have stiffer hind feet and a taller hand (manus) than diplodocids, and this seems like it might exapt them to feeding on a bit more solid ground. The heavier skull, with it's large teeth, also suggest that perhaps camarasaurids ate tougher plants than diplodocids. However, it would seem that both camarasaurids and diplodocids were living in the same areas, just exploiting different regions within those areas so as to not directly compete with one another.

As with all archosaurs, sauropods must have conserved some water by excreting uric acid, rather than urea as we do. They therefore would lose less water in their feces. And maybe all sauropods avoided conifers. Maybe they concentrated on more "succulent" tree ferns and cycadoids? Hey, knock some fern trees down, strip away the leaves, that sort of thing as well.

And here's a thought on drinking. Why not just wade into a river up to your armpits, and then drink? No problems with getting your head down. Here's another one for shallow water -- lie down in it and drink. Of course, you have to get back up. =)

Or, you know that sauropods were great at knocking over vending machines to get at cokes. Need a bottle opener? Just use your big ol' thumb claw. Or your hind feet. Great for parties. =) =P ;) See, kids? This is what happens to you when you decide to become a paleontologist -- all the good jokes flow out of you and are replaced by lame dinosaur and geology jokes. Don't take this for granite. You have been warned. =)

Sauropod podiatrist,
Matt Bonnan

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