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Re: Semi-Sprawled Sauropods



> What information can be gleaned from trackways?

In front of me I have some fairly inaccuate, old-style toys of dinosaurs.
One of which is supposed to be a Diplodocus I imagine (tail dragging,
swan-neck, etc). It also has its front legs in a sprawling posture (with the
fore-arms parallel).

This does two things: it brings the chest closer to the ground and it
increases the gap between the front feet quite dramatically.

This flatly contradicts the physical evidence. We know from the trackways of
sauropods that the front and rear limbs are perfectly in-line. I'm sure its
anatomically possible to bring the front feet back in under the body and
keep the elbows bent, but this would put the body under even more stresses.

Furthermore, it doesn't seem to make any evolutionary sense to suffer such a
disadvantage as having bent knees. If you've evolved yourself into an animal
weighing maybe 100 tonnes you would need the most structurally sensible
physique to carry that weight. So, if you want a sauropod to be a
semi-sprawler, you have to wonder would be the *advantage* of placing such
enormous stress on your front limbs (instead of supporting your enormous
weight on pillars).

For a couple of nice sauropod trackway pictures, here's my page on
trackways: http://gavinrymill.com/dinosaurs/tracks/

Gav

www.gavinrymill.com        ICQ: 33916140  /  AOLIM: ExtinctGav