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Re: Big Dinosaur Prints Found



Adam Britton asked (concerning my implication that theropod tail tips would
be lower than the animals' heads in combat):

"Why is that? I thought theropod tails were normally held approximately
horizontally, so the tip was at a fairly similar height to the base? Even if
the tip was lower in larger theropods, I presume it's not dragging on the
ground or we wouldn't be having this discussion, so I can imagine a slew of
scenarios where the latter half of the tail might present itself to a
suitable set of jaws for biting."

    I would question whether the tails of most theropods were held in a
virtually horizontal position, excepting maybe in those with highly
tendonized tails, such as the dromeosaurids.  Just because their tails did
not normally drag upon the ground (exceptions being discussed) does not
constitute evidence that most theropod tail tips were carried on the same
level as the tail base, and I know of no osteological evidence that
distinctly supports that idea.

    Adam further stated:

"For that matter, who says the biter and the
bitee are even on level ground together?"

    Personally, I prefer not to take up list space discussing diverse
possible scenarios of differential evevation in dinosaur combat.  For
purpose of our discussion, it should be adequate to presume the combatants
are engaged on an 'even playing field'.

    Adam added:

"Anyway, the point is to suggest that no matter where an injury or
abnormality occurred on the tail, it could result in at least some portion
of the tail touching the ground and hence create an atypical taildrag."

    Point well taken.

    And he concluded:

 "The croc / lizard angle is only to point out that animals with bitable
tails
often receive injuries that are capable of altering their tracks."

    Goods point.

    Ray Stanford