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Re: supersaurus tail thingy

At 9:30 PM +0000 2/16/01, Scott Hartman wrote:
On the same line, is it possible that the club-like tail feature found in the Chinese Omeisaurus may also be a "popper"? The club-like feature a product of fossilization.<<<

An interesting question. I would have to say probably not, because the flexibility of the "whiplash" section of the diplodocid tail is required to achieve supersonic speed. The shorter tail of omeiosaurus, combined with the fact that the caudal processes extend further down the tail make it less likely that Omeisaurs could have do the same. On the other hand, snapping a towel apparently can break the sound barrier also, so without better modeling of the tails of Chinese asaruopods, I can't rule it out.

Imagine this: You are a great big herbivore from the Mesozoic. Your eyes and other parts of your body, are occasionally bothered by biting, stinging, annoying Mesozoic invertebrate Insects.

You have a very long tail.

Now, as a paleoethologist who enjoys her work, I would encourage everyoneto go out and watch a National Geographic (or any other flavor) presentation that includes footage of lots of grazing, moving, standing herbivores - it will also invariably include footage of schitt (a geologic term) and flies. Gnats. Mosquitos. During the Mesozoic then we had: Great Big Mesozoic Sized Biting Annoying creatures, and no fly spray anywhere in sight! BUT! We are herbivores. We have a TAIL! A marvelous derived thing. Now. Observe the behavior of tails. Go then, and observe the behavior of tails on wild or feral and domestic herbivores (such as horses and cows). Head to tail - swatting flies. Standing alone or in groups - swatting flies.

You have a tail. What do you do with it. Make noise? Battle? Defense? To attract a mate? Sometimes, probably. What do you do with it *most* of the time? Do you maybe swat great big dinosaur sized Mesozoic flies/gnats/mosquitos off of your face and body, and out of your eyes. Or off the face, body, and eyes of your neighbor? It's just a speculation of mine. So therefore, I'm going with Akim's/Occam's/Okim's (spelling please?) Razor. ;^)

                        =00=  =00=  =00=  =00=
                        Marilyn D. Wegweiser, Ph.D.
                Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology
                     Cincinnati Natural History Museum

Assistant Professor of Geology
Department of Geology                   mdwegweiser@bsu.edu
Ball State University                   Office: 765-285-8268;765-285-8270
Muncie, Indiana                         FAX:    765-285-8265