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Re: Question about Sauropod Nostril Placement

On Thu, Dec 25, 2003 at 06:51:24AM -0700, Ken Carpenter scripsit:
[maybe the nostrils move back to facilitate drinking?]
> But if sauropods had to drink like birds, that is heads up, letting
> gravity pull the water down their throats, then nostril position is
> not an issue.  

Everything proposed for sauropod diet is sharp and prickly; perhaps
moving the nostrils back facilities getting them painfully stabbed in
the tender lining of the nose less often.

It's been proposed that the ones with back-positioned nostrils had
trunks; I don't think this has gone anywhere, research wise, nor has
anyone found any facial muscles to make the trunk out of.

It's also been proposed that they honked a lot, and the nostril position
is to allow better resonance chambers for snorting or honking.

It don't know if anyone's suggested 'the skull handles biting stress
better that way', but that would be the fairly obvious one; even
incremental improvements would be important if you're in a food-intake
constrained growth race to breeding age with all the other sauropods.
(Possibly not just your species, if the niche partitioning isn't all
that solid round the edges.)

Or maybe just getting rid of the kink at the end of the windpipe made
handling the very long neck easier for breathing purposes.

Desperately difficult to test any of this, even with lots and lots of
good sauropod skulls.

oak@uniserve.com | Uton we hycgan    hwaer we ham agen,
                 | ond thonne gedhencan    he we thider cumen.
                 |   -- The Seafarer, ll. 117-118.