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Re: Diplodocus: Return to the Swamps????
I have a hard time imagining sauropods submerging themselves in
*anything*. Sucking breath through those long necks would have been
hard enough at the best of times. Having additional pressure around
the lungs wouldn't have improved things.
Of course, just because I can't imagine something doesn't mean it
didn't happen. :-)
Mud is one thing, but water... the more pneumatic sauropods floated like
corks, as I'm sure we all remember. :-)
Another reason I think it unlikely that sauropods *prefered* swampy
areas has to do with cost verses benefits. Sauropods had tiny mouths
for their size, which would have restricted the amount they could eat
per unit of time. This in turn would suggest metabolisms considerably
lower than those found in other dinosaur lineages.
Absolutely not. Elephants chew -- sauropods didn't. Yes, *Camarasaurus*
has precise tooth occlusion, but its jaws are like two pairs of serrated
hedge scissors; there's no grinding going on whatsoever, it just took
The only remaining big question is how sauropods prevented their gut
contents from going mouldy. Elephants have extra-broad guts to _shorten_
the passage time.
I imagine (there's
that word again) that plowing through mud would require much more
energy than walking up sloping ground (depending of course on the
degree of slope). Would sauropods have been able to spare all that
extra energy? Perhaps if it meant the difference between immediate
life-or-death, but somehow I don't see them pushing their way through
swamps (or even deep water) on a regular basis.