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Re: Fw: Sauropod Necks As Weapons

Large lizards like Iquanas may be bad analogies to sauropods but as far as I
know they are the only living vertebrates that use their tails in defense in
this way, and from what I've seen the size of their tails means they often
hit their target without even looking at them. (Wow that was a long

And I don't know if a sauropods brain was able to compute things like this
it is possible they could have learned how to hit things in certain
positions at certain distances much like how elephants don't know how to use
their trunks for several years after they are born.  Or the ability to judge
such distances could have been instinctually programmed into them.  Perhaps
the nerve bundle in their hips could have assisted in the accuracy of such
maneuvers?  Have sauropod endocasts ever been taken to judge how good their
vision may have been?

As for whether they used their tails or necks I think the tails of whiplash
and clubbed sauropods show obvious specializations for defense but when it
comes right down to it an animal will use whatever it has to defend itself.
I've seen films of zebras biting crocodiles when they couldn't use their
hooves.  I know horses are great biters but my point still stands that a
sauropod would have done anything to defend itself, specialized for the task
or not.
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Marjanovic" <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 6:19 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Sauropod Necks As Weapons

> Original Message by luke ber Tuesday, 10. December 2002 09:33
> > Is there any evidence to suggest the possibility that instead of using
> > tail to swat an approaching Therapod, but to roll the tip of the tail as
> > form of camouflage, thereby confusing the predator as to which end to
> > it would make you think twice, going for the jugular, and coming up with
> > healthy tail swat in the face.
> Apart from there being no evidence either way, a diplodocid tail end
> doesn't look like a diplodocid head IMHO. I also doubt a big theropod
> have gone for the jugular, instead of just cutting a gigantic wound in the
> prey somewhere or other, such as the leg muscles (well described in PDW).
> While I am at it, Dinomorph has shown pretty clearly that neither
> *Diplodocus* nor *Apatosaurus* were able to see through between their legs
> because their necks weren't flexible enough to form such a tight downward
> curve, but both had enough sideways flexibility to look backwards
> nonetheless. Non-diplodocimorphs with long cervical ribs should have had
> more restricted dorsoventral flexibility, so I doubt any standing sauropod
> ever saw the world upside-down.