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Re: Refurbished Berlin Brachiosaurus Mount

Jaime A. Headden writes:

  Aside from the shoulder being 6m up, the head is positionable at 9m IN ANY
DIRECTION from the core of the body, including parallel to the ground. This
does not require it to be vertical or even semi-vertical. The same is true for
giraffes, which do not hold their necks vertically (at least passively as
extensively illustrated and characterized for the bulk of sauropods).

Given the relatively small tail of brachiosaurs, it seems unlikely (from a counter-balance perspective) that they walked about with the neck stuck straight ahead horizontally. Of course that doesn't necessarily mean an extreme vertical S-curve either. It suggests to me that 'normal' (whatever that means) neck posture was probably somewhere between straight ahead and straight up (assuming straight up was even possible). Maybe representing them with necks at a 45 degree angle would be closer to the mark (or at the very least represent an 'average' neck posture).

The elongated forelimbs also suggest a tendancy for the head to reach upwards more so than downwards. Long forelimbs in a non-running low-browser would seem to be counter-productive (although fast-running low-browsers like horses find long forelimbs useful). In fact, I'd expect that a low-browsing sauropod would probably have short forelimbs, a low-slung horizontal neck, and an impressive tail to counter-balance it. Sort of like a diplodocid really. :)

Everything about the brachiosaur body plan suggests 'high browser' to me. A more upright neck and a shorter tail may have allowed them to navigate amongst trees better than something like a diplodocid could have. Sticking the neck out almost horizontally while moving about would have required three-point turns amongst trees, whereas a more upright neck may have allowed a much tighter turning circle (ie. if the neck projected forward of the forelimbs no farther than the tail projected backward from the hindlimbs).


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist              geo cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia             heretichides.soffiles.com