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RE: [toni.naish@btinternet.com: Amphibious sauropod renaissance?]

Bonnan's thesis will appear in "The Thunder Lizards" (aka the Sauropod book)  
due out any time by Indiana University Press

Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D. 
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology 
and Chief Preparator 
Department of Earth Sciences 
Denver Museum of Nature & Science 
2001 Colorado Blvd. 
Denver, CO 80205 USA

ph: 303-370-6392/ or 6403 
fx: 303-331-6492 

for PDFs of my reprints, info about the Cedar Mtn. Project, etc. see:
for fun, see also:


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] 
> On Behalf Of Mike Taylor
> Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 3:40 PM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Cc: toni.naish@btinternet.com
> Subject: [toni.naish@btinternet.com: Amphibious sauropod renaissance?]
> More from Darren, who REALLY ought to be working on his 
> dissertation instead of trawling the DML archives :-)
> For what it's worth, Matt Bonnan's dissertation concluded 
> that "Statistically significant differences in limb and foot 
> bones of Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, and Camarasaurus suggest 
> these contemporaneous sauropods had differing terrain 
> preferences.  In particular, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus 
> appear to have been better suited to traversing wetter 
> sediments than Camarasaurus."  So if anything was adapted to 
> aquatic habitats, this suggested it would have been 
> diplodocids.  But the evidence still overwhelmingly points to 
> terrestrial habits.
> ------- Start of forwarded message -------
> Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 22:02:36 +0100
> From: "Toni" <toni.naish@btinternet.com>
> To: "Mike Taylor" <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>
> Subject: Amphibious sauropod renaissance?
> Me again, clearly desperate to waste what free time I have by 
> pissing it away on emails about sauropods, swans and other 
> things unrelated to my research.
> [...]
> - - - - [should you feel that the following is useful or 
> interesting, please do post it to DML]
> Saw on DML your request for refs on the assertion that some 
> workers have recently suggested amphibious/aquatic habits for 
> some sauropods. I think the person who made this assertion 
> has been reading between the lines - no one (to my knowledge) 
> has suggested this recently, and of course all the evidence 
> is against it, but a few people have >intimated< that some 
> sauropods might still have associated with water. Two things 
> in particular come to mind: firstly, there were Matt Bonnan's 
> musings on DML about flagellicaudatan hindfeet. He noted, in 
> informal emails, that feet and toes are apparently more 
> flexible than so often stated, and I think (though I can't 
> find an email stating such) that he implied that maybe, after 
> all, some sauropods could have been quite capable of 
> traversing marshy substrates. In agreement with this, I 
> suppose, is work showing that some sauropods inhabited such 
> places - _Paralititan_ comes to mind (Smith et al. 2001), as 
> do the sauropods of Guimarota and the  coal-bearing parts of 
> the Morrison Formation. Dodson (1990) and Henderson (2003) 
> both pointed out an association of some sauropods with moist 
> conditions. None of this, of course, means however that the 
> sauropods in question were amphibious or aquatic. I can't 
> help thinking of moose, which spend considerable time during 
> certain parts of the year wading, swimming and diving (even 
> staying submerged for up to 6 minutes or so) and feeding on 
> aquatic vegetation - yet I can't recall hearing this animal 
> described as amphibious (Geist 1999). 
> Secondly, and rather more explicitly, Tim Pedley and 
> colleagues have suggested, as a result of their work on the 
> cardiovascular system of giraffes (Pedley et al. 1996), that 
> sauropods fed from aquatic or amphibious vegetation. Thomas 
> (1997) writes 'Pedley argues that sauropod dinosaurs could 
> not have browsed from the treetops ... Instead, he believes 
> that they used their long necks to feed off weeds growing on 
> the bottom and rivers and lakes'. Of course, we shouldn't 
> really talk of scientists 'believing' in anything, and the 
> point of view promoted here is hardly original - but it is, 
> pretty much as far as I know, the only recent published 
> suggestion promoting this view of sauropods. As is well 
> known, and as is pointed out in the same article, the 
> evidence from tooth wear and so on indicates that the 
> sauropod taxa that have been studied in this context did not 
> feed on aquatic vegetation. 
> Refs - -
> Dodson, P. 1992. Sauropod paleoecology. In Weishampel, D. B., 
> Dodson, P. & Osmólska, H. (eds) _The Dinosauria_ (University 
> of California Press, Berkeley), pp. 402-407.
> Geist, V. 1999. _Deer of the World_. Swan Hill Press 
> (Shrewsbury), pp. 421.
> Henderson, D. M. 2003. Tipsy punters: sauropod dinosaur 
> pneumaticity, buoyancy and aquatic habits. Proceedings of the 
> Royal Society of London B 271 (Supp. 4) S180-S183.
> Pedley, T. J., Brook, B. S. & Seymour, R. S. 1996. Blood 
> pressure and flow rate in the giraffe jugular vein. 
> _Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B_ 
> 351, 855-866.
> Smith, J. B., Lamanna, M. C., Lacovara, K. J., Dodson, P., 
> Smith, J. R., Poole, J. C., Giegengack, R. & Attia, Y. 2001. 
> A giant sauropod dinosaur from an Upper Cretaceous mangrove 
> deposit in Egypt. _Science_ 292, 1704-1706.
> Thomas, J. 1997. A heart for heights. _New Scientist_ 155 (2100), 24.
> - --
> Darren Naish
> School of Earth & Environmental Sciences Burnaby Building, 
> Burnaby Rd University of Portsmouth Portsmouth, UK, PO1 3QL
> email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
> [send large attachments to: eotyrannus@gmail.com]
> tel: 023 92846045
> ------- End of forwarded message -------