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RE: could Cetiosaurus and Brachiosaurus swing their necks fast?



Anthony Docimo writes:
 > >Anthony Docimo writes:
 > >  > ie, if something grabbed them by the neck*, could the sauropods
 > >  > move their necks side-to-side/up-and-down fast enough to
 > >  > dislodge/hurl away the grabbing thing?
 > >  >
 > >  > * = no, not a large therapod....say a person, or a small maniraptor.
 > >
 > >Possibly.  It's very hard to say.  In general, sauropods would have
 > >been pretty careful with their necks, as they were engineered close to
 > >their strength limits.
 > 
 > so, giraffe-style swinging (neck against neck) is out....

Well, I wouldn't want to go so far as to say that it's "out" -- we're
working here with inferences based on hypotheses extrapolated from
fragments deduces from hints :-) Bu, yes, given the very fragile bone
in the necks of most sauropods, I'd be surprised to see them doing
anything with their necks that would result in a the sudden
application of force.  (To be fair, not everyone agrees with me: in
particular Matt Wedel and I have argued a lot about this.)

 > what of just swinging through the air?

Well, sure; but how quickly?  And how quickly could the necks
accelerate?  That's the real issue, since the force at each point
along the neck would be proportional to the rate at which it is
accelerating.  I'm not inclined to think that a typical sauropod would
have been able to shake it's neck from side to side quickly enough to
dislodge a small theropod that had a good grip (though I have no
numbers to back that up).  I'd have thought scraping it off, or
crushing it, would have been a better move.

 > *has a sudden mental image of brightly colored male sauropod necks
 > swinging through the air, each flaunting his physical fitness to
 > the watching female sauropods*

I can totally imagine that.  Chicks really go for that stuff.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "There is no justification for taking away individuals' freedom
         in the guise of public safety" -- Thomas Jefferson.