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RE: Sauropod Self Defense

> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] 
> On Behalf Of Vizon Rok
> Speaking of sauropods and artists, I am trying to paint 
> (digitally) an illustration depicting the power of sauropods 
> - how a tyrannosaur would be in trouble if ever he got in 
> one's path due to their immense size (as might a lion getting 
> trampled by a bull elephant). In my endeavor to make it as 
> accurate as possible, I came across a lot of data that says 
> sauropods might not have lifted their heads high at all
> - even brachiosaurus.
> In my painting I had the sauropod (based on an 
> Argentinasaurus) lifting its head very high and also rearing 
> up on its back legs to crush the rex. So now I suppose I 
> should start over with the sauropod...but my question is - 
> can I keep it rearing up if I keep its head low? How do you 
> guys think a sauropod would realistically 'attack' a 
> threatening predator? And is the whip-tail theory still viable?
> By the way Luis Rey - you might remember me from Montana. :)
> -Johanna Arcand

Several items:

1) Argentinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus never met. However, Argentinosaurus DID
live at the same time and place as Mapusaurus, which rivaled or exceeded T.
rex in size.

2) Not all workers agree that all sauropods had low-oriented necks. That
work is still ongoing, and the new semicircular canal approach will
definitely help.

3) Sauropod rearing is currently undergoing study from a biomechanical point
of view: results not yet out.

4) Using tails as a defense is certainly not out. However, the exact degree
it was used, and whether it was whip vs. club, is uncertain and would
certainly vary across Sauropoda. (For example, Brachiosaurus wasn't a

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-405-0796

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA