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Sauropods Then and Now



A message to a History of Science list I follow asked after examples of theories (of this or that subject matter), that were once dominant, then went out of fashion for a time, and have since come back into contention as the "correct theory". I am wondering about the changing views of sauropod behavior/habitat etc. as an example of this phenomenon. Perhaps a quick trip to the archives is in order, but I'm wondering:

Older books on sauropod behavior treated them as slow moving swamp-dwellers whose diet was aquatic vegetation, but this changed about when? I vaguely recall pictures of sauropods (brachiosaurs?) feeding from the tree-tops from about the mid-70s. Is this the right time frame? And I recall the motivation for this new view being the discovery of remains from upland environments. Or not?

More recently, however, there has been much talk on this list of certain sauropods (diplodocids? or others as well?) perhaps being designed for a semi-aquatic environment after all. Would it be correct to say that this conjecture is based on bio-mechanical studies of neck movement in the animals (which show the giraffe analogue to be faulty), as well as the discovery of further remains in a coastal setting?

Cheers,

M.J.Murphy