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Re: Sauropod Necks As Weapons



John Cooper wrote:
> 
> It seems preposterous to me, because it posits a transitional sauropod that
> was out of balance, with a long tail and a neck inadequate to counterbalance
> it. I don't think animals evolve unwieldy appendages and then evolve a
> correction.

If sauropods were descended from prosauropod-like animals, then they
tended to have larger tails that necks; if not longer, then certainly
heavier. 

If they began as smaller animals capable of rearing bipedally to feed,
and gradually attained greater body size, then the heavy
counter-balancing (and possibly defensive) tail may have required a
heavier neck to develop to counter-balance the increasingly large
counter-balancing structure (if you get my drift; tail counter-balances
for rearing, animal evolves larger body size retaining large tail, neck
get bigger to counter-balance the tail).

Somewhere along the way sauropods may have become too large to regularly
adopt a bipedal, or even tripedal, posture, but some (such as
diplodocids) may have retained features from their (smaller) ancestors
that did (such as larger hindlimbs than forelimbs).

-- 
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Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/
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