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Re: Diplodocus: Return to the Swamps????

On Mon, Dec 14th, 2009 at 11:29 AM, don ohmes <d_ohmes@yahoo.com> wrote:

> All the large sauropods would have done great in swamps -- good temp control, 
> *safety from 
> theropods*, all-in-all a real R&R zone for the big ones. Probably good forage 
> too, especially
> around the edges. Note that I mean the sauropod is _in_ the swamp, reaching 
> OUT and nibbling
> around the edges, NOT standing on the edge, reaching into the swamp. 
> Maintaining terrestrial
> competence was necessary for reproduction, overland journeys, and (perhaps 
> seasonal?)
> opportunistic foraging.
> Sauropods may or may not have spent large amounts of time in swamps, and that 
> concept may 
(or may
> not) be testable, but no large terrestrially competent herbivore has ever 
> been better suited
> _physically_ for doing so. Although elephants seem to do very well currently. 
> Their feet are very
> well-adapted to soft ground.

I'm afraid I beg to differ. I would imagine that the wide spreading feet of 
theropods would have 
been *better* for navigating swampy terrain than the compact (especially fore-) 
feet of sauropods.

Theropods probably also had less density than sauropods, never mind the fact 
that they usually 
had less mass in an absolute sense. Being bipeds, theropods would also have had 
a much better 
sense of balance than (often top-heavy) sauropods - which can come in handy on 
slippery terrain.

If a sauropod and a large theropod both entered a swamp, my money would have 
been on the 
theropod being the one to leave (probably with a much fuller stomach than it 
arrived with).


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist                Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj