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questions, wayne barlowe, and king kong (long)



Hello all, it's been too long since I wrote to (or for that matter read 
from) the dml; I was able to drop my ME computer(>:{)and finally get me an 
XP (!!!!).
I've found many of the recent writings on the list to be exceptionally 
interesting, especially the writings on sauropod neck biomechanics which 
brings me to my first question.

Question 1: If the <long> necks of most sauropod's (diplodocus, 
mamenchisaurus, euhelopus, barosaurus, ect) were so advantageously designed 
for ground foraging and grazing, then why, from what we know of 
Miocene-Holocene (the epochs when grasslands became predominant around the 
world, if you didn't know) mammalian grazing herbivores (like.... 
elephantids, mastodonts, glyptodonts, camelids, protoceratids, cervids, 
bovids, notoungulates, litopterns, rhinoceroses, equiids, and so forth) did 
none of them ever evolve the extremely long cervical vertebrae for grazing 
on low-lying foliage like those of the (presumably) grazing long-necked 
sauropods? I would assume that paleobiology is based on comparative anatomy 
between extinct and extant forms so this has left me in a bit of a quandary.
If you can give me an answer to my question I would be very happy.

<I know the fine artist-researcher Scott Hartman has already covered some of 
the issues above, but I thought I would define it a bit more, if that's 
possible.>

Also I find the talks on dinosaur (mostly tyrannosaur) speeds on the dml of 
near equal interest and brings me to my second question.

Question 2: If tyrannosaurus rex (or torosus, or baatar :p) was unable to 
run at high speeds then why did he (speaking of "sue" anyway) have 1. such 
gigantic iliums (for a stroller anyway)
and 2. such large muscle attachments for the ilium-femur-tibia-fibula? 
Certainly I don't have a degree in zoology/biomechanics, but from my 
understanding of the two fields it would seem completely unnecessary to have 
such massive muscle-attachments for an animal that was supposedly so very 
slow.
Just throwing that out their.


Moving on, I'm happy to say that LEGENDARY illustrator/artist
Wayne Barlowe has finally created (err, that would be inaccurate, finalized 
would a better word) his website!

http://www.waynebarlowe.com/

It shows artwork from his 'expedition' book and... uhh... another
book(s) that would be inappropriate for me to talk about on the DML 
(meaning: Mary would likely kick my butt and then kick my butt off the list 
if I talked about it!). Yet the site only has one dinosaur illustration. If 
you would like to see some more of Barlowe's dinosaur-related art and see 
hands-down the ugliest styracosaur ever, peruse here:

http://www.imagenetion.net/matrix/talifewb2.htm

Finally I saw the film King Kong. I know many of the things I write have 
already been said about the film before, but you see I like to hear myself 
speak, err read myself type (though that didn't sound as good as the former) 
:cp.
Though the film has many problems in the way of zoological, biological, and 
biomechanical realism (sauropods with strait legs galloping like rhinos, 
numerous multi-tone dinosaurs, mammals and so forth existing on a 
comparatively small island (I would assume the size Hawaii's largest 
island), gigantic crustaceans and insects (can someone say "CRAB PEOPLE! 
CRAB PEOPLE! CRAB PEOPLE!), the lip-less and three-armed "v.rex", and the 
fact that every single animal on the island (the "land-crocs" with their own 
meal especially) seem to do whatever they can to take a bite out of Naomi 
Watts (she's great but come-on!)) my greatest problem with the movie was the 
story and the characters, most of all Adrien Brody's Jack character, which 
simply peters off around the middle of the film and clearly puts the film 
off-center.
Certainly in the lord of the rings Jackson had to cut away some (um actually 
a lot) of the characterization for the need to put in most of the original 
story, but king kong (contrary to some) is not a absolute concrete work and 
he definitely could have removed a lot of the action (a considerable amount 
of the jungle battle for that matter) for greater characterization.
Also for the film that was supposed to be the next titanic (which earned one 
billion eight-hundred million dollars and made James Cameron a very, very, 
very, rich man) it certainly petered off the box office:

http://www.worldwideboxoffice.com/index.cgi?order=worldwide&start=1900&finish=2006&keyword=king+kong&links=amazon.com&popups=yes

or http://www.worldwideboxoffice.com/ and type in "king kong".

Which was probably because of the mixed reviews the film received:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/king_kong/
in comparison to:
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lord_of_the_rings_the_return_of_the_king/

If you've ever wondered what critics thought of this film or that go to: 
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/
(though you should know that the real critics, those that have actually gone 
to film school and are professionally represented in magazines, news papers 
and other printed media, are always in the lower right box "cream of the 
crop" whereas the rest of the reviews are by "arm-chair" internet film 
reviewers).

Best wishes to all.

                                             Mark Foster
"@#$% you." -President "Silent Cal" Calvin Coolidge;
America (the book)