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RE: Bakker & whiptails - jog my memory please!

In a message dated Thu, 9 Nov 2000 10:16:42 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
"Matthew Bonnan" <mbonnan@hotmail.com> writes:

> In contrast, a sauropod tail is made up of many 
> separate, finger-sized verts.  If these separate 
> verts were "cracked" at supersonic speeds, were 
> they capable of holding up?  In other words, whips 
> fray and break over time, especially the tips.  What 
> would happen to sauropod tails?  What of the blood
> vessels, especially the delicate capillaries that 
> must have run to the tail verts?  Seems to me the 
> tail could be an effective weapon without having to 
> travel supersonically.  Many reptiles smack predators
> and prey with their tails, leaving nice welts or 
> worse, and none of these guys is doing it 
> supersonically.  Of course, without the supersonic
> speed you don't get the cracking noise Nathan and 
> Currie suggested.
As I recall, in the various articles on the subject and also in the segment 
on Discovery News, HP Myrvold speculated that the cracking noise was used by 
the sauropods to alert potential mates as to their whereabouts and not for 
defensive purposes.