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Re: Diplodocid duck-and-cover techniques (?)



Patrick Norton wrote:

> > I've seen horses blindly kick at whatever's behind them<
>
> If this is only a behaviour directed towards "whatever's behind them", then
> it's not so blind, is it? Horses don't go around kicking their hind legs all
> the time, do they?

Horses have large eyes, acute vision, and a very wide degree of peripheral
vision.  Is it accurate to say that they cannot see the predator pursuing them,
even out of the corner of one eye?  Would this behavior then be a threat display
or are the horses able to score direct hits fairly regularly merely by chance?

Besides, lacking mobile ankles and elongate pedal extremities, sauropods are
ill-equipped for running, as per Gregory Paul's comments, so the "diplodocid as
Mesozoic horse" analogy breaks down.  Perhaps someone can suggest a more useful
extant analog.

How do monitor lizards or other non-avian reptiles use their tails as weapons?
How effective are they?  Do they wound or deter predators in this manner?  If
their sinuous bodies were immobilized from their pectoral girdles to their
pelves could they see what they were doing with their tails?  Would sauropod
defensive behavior be a good thesis or science fair topic?

-- Ralph W. Miller III      gbabcock@best.com

Of course, comic book superheroes such as Sauropod Man can run like a horse and
frequently tie themselves into pretzel knots just for the Hell of it!
;^)