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Re: New Dinomorph site

I had a look at Kent's new Dinomorph website and -- you will all be shocked 
-- I was not a happy visitor. 

K continues to claim that giraffe necks are sharply dorso-flexed at the neck 
base when I (at 06 SVP) and Christian & Dzemski (Fossil Record 07 10: 38) 
showed that giraffe necks often articulate more horizontally, or are even 
downcurved, apparently depending on the thickness of the intercentra cartilage 
which have since been lost or dehydrated. 

K continues to assume that all sauropods have thin cartilage intercentra 
discs even though we know from some dinosaur specimens that the discs were 
if not usually thick (just about the only useful information to come out of the 
dreadful Natl Geo show on the heavy tailed edmontosaur), as they often are in 
giraffe necks which like sauropods have ball and socket centra articulations. 

K continues to claim that the AMNH fused cervicals of Camarasaurus articulate 
in a nearly straight line, and that they lay nearly flat on the table. As I 
showed at the 06 SVP both statements are patently false. The two cervicals 
would easily rock if the parapophyses were removed. K makes no attempt to 
measure the angle of dorso-flexion of the centra, perhaps because if that is 
done as I did at the 06 SVP they are clearly flexed upwards ~10 degrees (the 
strong flexion is easily visible in his own posted photos). That is far from 
straight. K's claims are not science, they are propaganda. 
    Assume that the rest of the neck base vertebrae were also dorso-flexed 
the same amount and the neck would angle upwards 45 degrees or more. The only 
way to get an adult camarasaur neck to be straight with the zygapophyses in 
articulation is to assume extremely thin intercentra cartilage discs that are 
unlikely in the chronically poorly ossified sauropods. There is a bad need, 
BTW, to get the fused AMNH cervicals CT scanned, it's the only way to see if 
they are in or near neutral articulation, how thick the cartilage disc was, and 
to what degree they may be laterally flexed. In any case, when K continues to 
claim that camarasaur cervicals were normally straight when there is no hard 
evidence this is true, and when the only hard evidence indicates otherwise, 
reveals a detachment from the objective situation. 

K continues to claim that the Carnegie Apatosaurus cervical series is 
essentially straight when doing so requires disarticulating some cervicals as 
can be 
clearly seen in his own illustrations based on the figures of 3018, and when 
the neck base vertebrae are so incomplete and distorted that the originals are 
not on the mounted skeleton (they were replaced with sculpted models, thanks 
to Jack McIntosh to pointing this out to me). The use of the neck of this 
specimen to restore cervical posture is completely inappropriate and must be 
abandoned, and continuing to use 3018 is scandalous. 
    As nice as the classic illustrations of the Carnegie apatosaur vertebrae 
look, the degree that using them to try to restore their posture is dubious 
can be seen by trying to do so with the dorsals of CMNH 563 (now at Laramie). 
is simply not possible, they won't fit together in a normal manner. This does 
not mean that apatosaurs had erect necks, but there probably is no preserved 
neck that was well enough preserved and properly collected to tell for sure. 

K continues to claim that the Euhelopus neck articulates in a straight line 
when in his own version of the articulated cervical series it can be seen that 
one of the cervo-dorsal articulations is ventro-flexed many degrees at the 
zygapophyses! Rotate that joint so the zygapophyses are fully articulated and 
neck slopes upwards by about the same amount Wiman originally restored it in. 
K, in another egregiosuly propagandistic act, also slaps one of those red NO 
signs over my restoration of Euhelopus even though the neck posture shown is 
entirely within the range acheiveable with only a few degrees of dorso-flexion 
between each of the posterior cervicals. K continues to be a member of the 
rigid cult that for some strange reason thinks that all skeletal restorations 
must show the neck in an osteological neutral posture. If that arbitrary rule 
were applied consistently then the tail and legs would have to be in neutral 
posture too -- no more tails in graceful flexions, no more running poses with 
leg maximally extended in the push off and the other flexed in the recovery 

Apparently K plans to attempt a detailed restoration of the neck posture of 
the Berlin brachiosaur SII even though the cervo-dorsals lack the upper halves 
and are somewhat crushed. It is simply not possible to even try to restore 
neck posture when the zygapophyses much less the cartilage discs are absent, it 
is a completely useless project that not one more second should be wasted upon. 
K also seems to think that researchers in the past have denied that 
brachiosaurs fed at shoulder level. It is common knowledge that many herbivores 
regularly feed at any level they can readily reach.    

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