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RE: Lurdusaurus & dinosaurian hippos



Brian Lauret wrote:

As I was reading a description of Lurdusaurus I was intrigued by its
apparently large size and heavy build. Seeing that Lurdusaurus, as
an iguanodontian, must have descended from rather lightweight and
fleetfooted ornithischians, it seems plausible to assume it adopted
quite a different lifestyle, and probably quite different from other
large iguanodontians too, as those were not as massively build. So I
wondered, is it possible that Lurdusaurus was a large (semi-)aquatic
herbivore and in that way convergent with hippos?

The trouble with the hippo analogy is that, although _Lurdusaurus_ was very heavy and bulky, it also had a rather long neck and small head. Says Taquet and Russell (1999): "In its squat posture the animal must have resembled ankylosaurs. However, its relatively small skull, circular chest, powerful and heavily clawed forelimbs, transversely flattened femoral shaft and generally massive skeletal elements probably even more strikingly recalled the form of giant ground sloths." I would add that _Lurdusaurus_ has received only a preliminary description so far, and further studies may propose a rather different lifestyle for this strange African ornithopod.



Cheers

Tim