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Re: Sauropods as seen by Dale Russell in "Dinosaur Attack"
> But I digress. I was particularly struck by the
> contributions made by Dale Russell to the program. In
> it Russell describes several of his hypotheses of
> dinosaur metabolism and behavior, and I'd like to open
> these up for comment because some of them surprised
I found that part of the documentary to be, frankly, bizarre. The idea
that a sauropod weighing dozens of tons would cool off fast enough to
fall into a lethargic state as soon as the sun went down exceeds even
the swamp-bound portrayals of dinosaurs earlier this century. I mean,
to lose heat that fast, it would have to conduct like nobody's business,
probably faster than copper.
Another aspect of the program that caught me off guard was the
considerable amount of time devoted to demonstrating how modern
quadrupeds "switch gears" by hopping with their hind legs as they change
gaits, and using that as evidence that the theropod also hopped to speed
up as it dashed in for the kill, thus accounting for the missing track.
The reason, AFAIK, that the dogs and cheetahs were hopping with their
hind legs was to keep them in sync with front legs as they changed
gaits. All well and good. What was never explained was why a BIPEDAL
theropod would need to manage its hind legs in similar fashion as it
accelerated. I would assume that a biped would change gaits by simply
Comments? Did that strike anyone else as strange, or am I just
advertising my ignorance?
Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
2401 Chautauqua Ave.
Norman, OK 73072