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Re: stegosaurs - tail and neck posture

From: "David Elliott" <dalelemu@hotmail.com>

So... what's the actual preferred posture for a stegosaur's neck and >tail?

Although I'm not overly sure about the position of the neck in stegosaurs, I do know that Tracy Ford argues for a rather straight and stiff-tailed _Stegosaurus_ in his wonderful "How to Draw Dinosaurs" publication. It seems that if the tail were to flex downward as seen in some museum specimens, or if it flexed too much from side to side, the large dorsal plates would basically have dislodged themselves from the animal's back. That said, HP Ford argues that _Stegosaurus_, at least, must have kept its tail more-or-less level to the sacrals, as Dave mentioned.

-Jordan Mallon


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I've noticed that stegosaur skeletons (eg// _Kentrosaurus_ at the BMNH, photographs of _Tuojiangosaurus multispinus_ and _Huayangosaurus taibaii_ specimens in the section on Asian stegosaurs in "Dinosaur Systematics") seem to be mounted with the tail and neck both sloping downward, but in *illustrations* of the skeletons (eg// _Stegosaurus_ in "The Dinosauria" and _Tuojiangosaurus_ and _Huayangosaurus_ in "Dinosaur Systematics") tend to show the neck raised upwards (kind of more horse-like) and the tail raised at least level with the sacrals (instead of sloping downwards).
I had thought that it was a sign of a transition from seeing stegosaurs as giant-lizard-like things to seeing them as bird-elephant-like things, i.e. that the skeletons had all been on display like that for decades and not changed, whereas the illustrations could obviously be replaced more easily. But then i noticed in "The Encyclopaedia of Dinosaurs" that the neural spines on _Stegosaurus_ caudals are angled towards the rear of the animal, and thought that maybe that restricts the tail to a downward sloping sort of posture.
So... what's the actual preferred posture for a stegosaur's neck and tail? Why are the mounts of the skeletons different from the pictures of the skeletons?

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