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The bigger they were...
Of sauropods, I queried:
And what about the danger inherent to them tipping on land - as a
result of high winds?
On Wednesday, October 29, 2003, at 08:48 AM, David Marjanovic wrote:
IMHO they were much too heavy to worry about that. :-)
I'm thinking extremes here - cyclonic-force winds. Even if they didn't
'blow over' as a direct result, they could have been put off balance
and then fallen to a crashing death.
Why should they have been in more danger of stumbling than elephants?
Because they were often exceedingly tall and narrow, whereas elephants
are rather square (not to imply they don't dig the scene...). A
center-of-gravity issue. And sauros had a heckuva lot further to fall
with presumably far more dire consequences.
That risk can't have been much greater than that of a mammoth in an
full of saber-tooth cats.
Aye, but a *heard* of mammoths would have had little to worry about if
surrounded by such undesirables.
This is a very serious consideration, given the way sauropods
are currently depicted; they'd go crashing sideways to the ground
if they were so much as a few inches off balance.
I don't see that. Just as I don't see it in an elephant.
Nevertheless, elephants swim well with columnar legs.
But they don't swim for a living.
Nor am I proposing sauropods did. Just that they waded in depths
sufficient to provide some buoyancy. To take a load off, as it were.
Are hippo legs too short to be considered columnar?
No, too bent. Hippo legs are "permanently flexed" like those of rhinos
all smaller mammals except bears and humans (...and extinct dwarf
Good-o :-) But bears and humans like wading! Do columnar legs
necessarily preclude deep wading? And have sauropod legs (esp.
forelimbs) been *proven* to have been straight?
Again, hippos and elephants (especially the Asian varieties).
Hippos, yes. Elephants are good swimmers, and like to swim, but don't
in the water.
Indian Rhinos, as well as the Sumatran & Javan (if there are any
So far, still... but their legs aren't straight. And I wouldn't
them "large" when we're talking about sauropods.
Even a full-grown African elephant is but a toddler to a towering
Although I've used a few examples myself - in counterpoint - there's
only so far we can reference modern/recent mammals to determine
anything about dinosaur behaviour and function.