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Smithsonian Diplodocus



Everyone,

When I was in Washington D.C. recently, I took the opportunity to
visit the Smithsonian Natural History museum -- of course! -- and I
remember being surprised by the central Diplodocus mount.

It wasn't so much the trail dragging on the ground (we all know that's
wrong now, right?  Or -- don't tell me -- even _this_ is subject to
debate, if what I've seen so far is any guide :-)  The thing that
really surprised me about the mount was the way the spinal column
seems discontinuous above the hips: that is, there's a nice gentle
curve from the shoulders to the hips, then the spine seems to
completely change direction, re-aiming itself upwards by ten or
fifteen degrees as it goes into the tail.  There's a photo at
http://www.nmnh.si.edu/paleo/dino/diplod2.htm
that illustrates what I mean rather nicely.

My question: is this just a mounting mistake, or is there something
odd going on the Diplodocus anatomy?

BTW., for anyone who lives in the Washington area and hasn't been to
the museum recently, it's well worth popping it to take a look at the
newly-acquired T. rex cast.  It's a truly awesome beast.

 _/|_    _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor -- <mirk@mail.org> -- http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/
)_v__/\  "Users don't read it" -- Nielsen's first law of computer
         documentation.