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Sea Monsters, a rant (long)
Speaking only about what I know at some extent:
1) the caption says they have short legs and swum with the tail, which does
not seem to me to be the common understanding at least for large nothosaurs.
2) It seems to have hindlimbs shorter than forelimbs (the opposite is true)
and anyway front limbs aren't short.
3) they are featured with clawed hands, where in most cases the last
phalanx is discoidal not supporting claws.
What it is really comic (or tragic) is that I have been consulted several
times by a guy involved in the making of the nothosaur model (no fee,
gratis amore scientia) ANYWAY I am much more upset to realize that they
have followed NONE of my suggestions/corrections because in such a way my
time has been lost twice .
1) the caption is simply a load of nonsenses: it seems they copied separate
sentences from the obsolete description by Wild and put them together
without any logic sense: from the caption seems that the same animal went
to land for insects and back to sea for fishes, while originally (and
questionably) Wild was referring to two different growth stages.
2) what is a head that snaps down?
3) do these guy know how long is an adult Tanystropheus? five-six
meters, how much metabolic energy would be required to re-grow a tail in
an animal of such size? How did the poor guy feed in water (if he did so)
without the main organ for propulsion? Well, selection may have favoured
the appearance of an animal specialized in scaring tanystropheids and
feeding on their tails: a lot of meat with little risk. Bah!
And this is only the caption, let's go to the animal restoration
1) As pointed out by David Peters, the animal is a bit too snakelike
2) the front view of the skull is rather pathetic, with that tiny nares
and were are the teeth? did they see how long are the teeth of
tanystropheus? Did they ever look at a tanystropheus skull?
3) I suppose that the close up n. 3 represents the foot. The sausage-like
toes seems not suited for anything in water, if we put T. in water, why its
toes aren't webbed?
4) the posture in the "big image" has the limbs gathered close to the body
rather than sprawling
5) the base of the tail should have been very wide and flat and then it
tapers posteriorly, in the sloppy restoration both characters are absent,
it looks like a laterally flattened tail from base to end.
This is really sad. A little amount of entertainment is surely important to
gain the attention of the public and so pass the informations without being
boring, but this is the demise of divulgation.
At 08.59 11/11/2003 -0500, you wrote:
At 09:26 PM 10/11/03 -0500, Danvarner@aol.com wrote:
Here's the cast of the new BBC presentation. Very nice mosasaur. Maybe needs
more lip. DV
It needs more than that: Elasmosaurus is described as "a dinosaur of the
seas"!!! Archelon is called an amphibian!!!! Liopleurodon is said to
"dwarf a living sperm whale".... Odobenocetops is said to have lopsided
tusks and no teeth (what are its tusks, then? Chopped liver?)!
And these are all from pages called (wait for it)... factfiles!!!!!!
To whom does one complain? Is it worth it?
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2 mailto:email@example.com
"there's treasure everywhere"
(from a strip of Calvin & Hobbes)
"The bad man is the job of the good man"
Prof. Silvio Renesto
Department of Structural and Functional Biology
Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
via Dunant 3