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Re: Sufferin' Sauropods



Peter Markman (zone65@bigpond.com) wrote:

<I shouldn't have said bottom-heavy, they're middle-heavy. The way their
legs are depicted in popular art, it seems they would have been
unsupportable. I propose they had far more heavily-muscled legs than the
gazelle-like limbs they're generally depicted with.>

  The slenderness of the legs as restored follows studies of the muscles.
Though a muscular study attempting to fully render them as per
Hutchinson's work has not yet been done, this does not mean those done, as
in Paul's work in _Dinosaurs, Pats and Present_ is erroneous and it is
generally considered to be accurate. Esxessively hugely muscled legs don't
matter in weight bearing issues, just the bones and the tensions,
compressions involved. So far, the physics involved have been expected to
comply with the job of supporting their multi-tonne weights rather
effectively. Read work by R. MacNeil Alexander on this, as he has pretty
much settled the biomechanical issue of land versus water weighting. Much
of this was covered popularly in "Sauropod Ecology" by Alexander in _the
Dinosauria_ (Weishampel, Dodson and Osmolska, 1990, eds) and by Bakker in
_the Dinosaur Heresies_. The camellate internal structure and columnar
ultrastructure appears to be perfectly suited to withstanding these
weights and allow the animal to move well enough; that sauropods moved
carefully and slowly over any terrain is told in their <3 mph trackways,
where it would be easy to _out-walk_ them, contra the fast-moving
"mamenchisaur" from _the Lost World_, so this removes the possibilities of
"accidentally" tripping because they're too fast and can't balance
themselves in time.

  Hoping this helps,

=====
Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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