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Re: Sauropod Necks

  Hoping this reply isn't dated sometine in January,
1998 -- or worst, December, 1969 ...

Jeff Martz wrote:

<...but my point was simply that the DMNH mount
demonstrates that it is possible to articulate the
neck vertebrae (in at least one specimen of
Diplodocus) to get the head well above the horizontal
without dislocating the zygapophyses, because the head
is high up and the zygapophyses are articulating. I
haven't read Stevens and Peter's paper, and I wasn't
personally involved with helping to mount the sauropod
neck, so I can't explain the descrepency.>

  No discrepency; but I and several others who
observed the mount noticed that not all the cervical
alignments were flush, or even close, and to acheive
the position, there were problems articulation some of
the dorsals. Additionally, and I don't know how much
the specimen is actually there, there are several
cervicals and dorsals which were cast. The Stevens and
Parrish paper does show, however, that the position
the neck is in in the DMNH mount is concurrent with
articulations in the diplo model. That is to say, the
model did not mean the neck couldn't go above
horizontal, but that the head could not be raised
above ~8ft (~2.5m). This gives the neck a gentle
U-shaped curvature, hypothesizing that the first
dorsal is horizontal in oritentation, an assumption
the paper promised to resolved with further testing.

  As Matt Bonnan said, there are few sauropod
specimens having full cervical and dorsal series from
which to test. There is a new titanosaur sauropod
juvenile from Madagascar which promises to be very
interesting, with an extraordinary neck. Similarly,
the famous CMNH mount of the juvenile *Camarasaurus*
simply needs to be prepared or CT scanned to allow the
vertebrae to be mapped and manipulated in whatever
form, which has a complete presacral series, to my

  And would you just imagine, this has rarely been
done for *many* groups of dinosaurs, the group most
tending to be tested being theropods.... Can you just
imagine the _bias_.... :)

Jaime "James" A. Headden

  Dinosaurs are horrible, terrible creatures! Even the
  fluffy ones, the snuggle-up-at-night-with ones. You think
  they're fun and sweet, but watch out for that stray tail
  spike! Down, gaston, down, boy! No, not on top of Momma!

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