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Sue mount at Field Museum



I know the buzz over the D. Watson Armour symposium at the Field Museum is
over, but I am just getting some free time to comment.  I was impressed by
features I saw in the mount of Sue.  Yes, I was there, but left at about
3:30 when the formal presentations were over to get back to Evansville ASAP
for a busy Sunday, so I didn't stay around to chat with people.  When I hit
I-57 I drove with the fast lane traffic with my cruise control set to 82 mph
for about 2 hours, and a lot of vehicles passed me!

Now, about speeding T. rex's, and the possibility they "ran" with a sort of
"Groucho walk," as was favored by some speakers:

The mount of Sue in the atrium seemed to embody the Groucho posture
hypothesis.  It is almost crouching, yet seems to be on the move, as if it
walked in that pose.  However, one knee was literally jammed into the rear
of the rib cage, and the other knee would have done the same thing on the
next step.  That suggests the Groucho walk could not have worked with the
narrow gait seemingly required by the femoral articulation with the pelvis.

I also think a more graviportal posture would be easier on the animal,
stressing muscles, tendons, and bones less.  Moreover, I noticed a definite
rugosity at the distal end of the femora, as if the joint was cushioned by a
pad of cartilage.  Yet in the Groucho posture any such pads would hardly
make contact with the tibia/fibula.  That seems unlikely.  Was that rough
femoral termination caused by something else?  

Going down the leg, I noticed that the tarsals (just the astragalus?)
contacted the metatarsals at the point of greatest curvature of the tarsals
(which is really rather sharp at one point, which just happens to be the
point of contact in this mount), rather than in a flatter area that might
have given a greater degree of stability to the joint.  The angle between
tarsals and metatarsals was surprisingly small, giving the feet a sort of
"spring-loaded" appearance.  That makes it look very dynamic, but the
reversed hallux was hitting the ground due to the low-to-the-ground angle of
the metatarsals.

All these points considered, I think Sue should have been given a more
upright stance.  Comments, anyone?

BTW, while all of the speakers were very good, I agree with some comments by
others, that Tom Holtz won in the enthusiasm category.  He always does.  He
is the "thinking man's (and woman's)" dinosaur enthusiast!

Norm King