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Re: Long Bone Scaling in Neosauropod Dinosaurs

On 8/29/07, Glen Ledingham <glenled@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Long-legged mammals seem to have evolved their stilts
> for a number of reasons:  elephants and giraffes for
> reaching goodies, moose for walking through bush and
> bog, camels to lift their bodies away from hot ground.

Maybe this is a bit off-topic, but ... most living camelids don't live
in hot desert areas. Of the six living species, four live at high
altitudes (Lama glama, L. guanicoe, Vicugna vicugna, V. pacos), one
lives in a variety of dry climates both cold and hot (Camelus
bactrianus), and only one lives exclusively in hot desert areas (C.
dromedarius). All of them have stilt-like legs, so isn't it more
likely that C. dromedarius' usage is an exaptation? Or is hot desert
the ancestral habitat, with the montane species being derived? (I
don't know a lot about camelid evolution.)

>  Perhaps the neosauropods did the same.

I have to say that the legs of elephants and neosauropods don't look
all that much like "stilts" to me (with the possible exception of
brachiosaurid forelimbs, although even those are more like columns
than stilts). What is the definition of "stilt-like" here? (Apologies
if this was mentioned and I missed it.) Are human legs "stilt-like"?

Mike Keesey