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Re: Mamenchisaurus Posture Paper

I don't know of a paper specifically on Mamenchisaurus, and would like to know
about it as well, but there is a paper on other long-necked sauropods.

Stevens, K. A. & Parrish, J. M. 1999 Neck posture and feeding habits of two
Jurassic sauropod dinosaurs. Science 284, 798-800.

I have been pointing out that the cardiovascular system in sauropods could not
have allowed them to raise their heads very high.  The first paper was a short
one in Nature in 1976, but in the meantime, I have gathered better data on what
cardiac muscle is capable of.  The results have appeared in the comparative
physiology literature, but when applied to sauropod dinosaurs it shows pretty
clearly that they didn't raise their heads very high.  Two meters above the
heart would probably have been about the limit.  That's what giraffes do.

Seymour, R.S. & Lillywhite, H.B.  2000.  Hearts, neck posture and metabolic
intensity of sauropod dinosaurs.  Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 267, 1883-1887.

This paper raised the eyebrows of some who have a fixed picture of high browsing
sauropods, and I had a spirited email discussion outside of the dinosaur list.
One even indicated that he was sorry that I published the paper, because it
confused the issue.  I am always prepared to discuss the evidence for and

Roger Seymour

Mike Taylor wrote:

> I have just run into this two-year-old popular article:
> http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200307/04/eng20030704_119448.shtml
> which says:
>         Contrary to the fallacy that Mamenchisaurus could
>         stride forward with its head held high, study on the
>         neck bones of a well-preserved dinosaur revealed that
>         it could raise its head only slightly higher than the
>         body within an angle of 20 degrees.
>         Dr Ouyang Hui with the Chengdu University of Science
>         and Engineering in Sichuan Province said that if the
>         head and neck span was 6.5 meters, the most
>         comfortable head position would be within 2 meters
>         above its body.
> Does anyone know the reference for the paper this article is based on?
> Thanks.
>  _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
> /o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
> )_v__/\  An ounce of example is worth a ton of explanation.
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