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Re: Vertebrae of Early Sauropods
One of these focused on the muscular ability of
apatasaurus to raise its neck and head. A main
assumption in the model was that the neck muscles of
apatasaurus were as strong as the muscles of a
modern crocodile. As it turned out, the computer
modeled apatasaurus could not raise its long neck
much above the height of its shoulders.
Very, very new, so please excuse if I'm stepping out of line.
However, I was under the impression that there were already two generally
accepted saurpod neck designs, one with tall necks for high-browsing
(brachiosaur?), and one with long-necks (diplododus?), which allowed the
animal to sweep its head in long arcs, foraging without moving. Since I
_think_ apatosaurus already falls into this second category, I'm not sure
why a result saying that it's not being able to lift its head above its
shoulders poses a problem.
I'm also not sure how much more vulnerable a horizonal neck position would
make a sauropod, given how long the neck is in the first place. It's pretty
much just as vulnerable in the vertical position (which exposes a _lot_ of
throat) as the horizontal. There's also the potential for a horizontal neck
to be used as a cudgel, just as its tail would be used as a whip (rather
like the way giraffes spar).
Finally, in re: blood pressure, I read once that the idea was floating
around that _perhaps_ some saurpods had auxilliary hearts up their
necks...something about suggestive hollow spaces set amidst the spinal
column which might have made good places for them. Has this been debunked
or is it still in the "well, maybe" category?
"There is no other wisdom,
And no other hope for us
But that we grow wise. -- Diane Duane
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