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Re: Dinosaur footprint trackway found

Quoting "Richard W. Travsky" <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>:

> On Wed, 22 Oct 2008, Dann Pigdon wrote:
> > Quoting Richard Hing <Richard.Hing@port.ac.uk>:
> >
> >> There's pictures here of some of the tail drags from the sauropod:
> >>
> >> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7680444.stm
> >>
> >> I also remember hearing about other trackways that show the same thing as
> >> well. I thought that dinosaurs were meant to keep their tails up off the
> >> ground? It seems a simple point but I've never heard it mentioned. Is
> there
> >> an explanation?
> >
> > There may have been less impetus to keep the tail aloft in soft mud than 
> > over rougher, more abrasive terrain. Having the tail contact the ground 
> > in muddy conditions may even have helped - a sauropod in slippery mud 
> > may have needed as much contact with the substrate as possible to 
> > prevent them slipping over. Spreading some of the weight of their hind 
> > quarters on the tail may also have helped prevent their hind legs from 
> > sinking too far into the mud.
> Wouldn't the tail impressions have been deeper then?

In scenarios 2 and 3, yes. Not necessarily in scenario 1 though. Unless these 
are undertracks of course.

Another (perhaps even less likely) scenario is that the tail drag marks 
represent the very end of the 
tail, and that the prints were made by an animal wading through water. If the 
tail was floating on the 
surface of the water then the animal may not have had to use as much muscular 
force to keep it up. In 
such a relaxed state, the thinner (and presumably less buoyant) end of the tail 
may have trailed below 
water and scraped the substrate.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist              http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia             http://heretichides.soffiles.com