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



Post by Anthony Docimo rescued from truncation, containing quotes from don ohmes:

 > Obviously=2C hippos will be extinct soon.
>
> hippos can chomp right through a croc=2C thus providing disincentive to at=
> tack hippos.

Adult hippos are too round to be bitten by crocs. I'm not kidding.

Babies are at risk, except they're being defended by the adults like... this:
http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/11/hippos_killing_crocodile.php

The most hippo-like sauropods -- those with the widest and therefore roundest bodies -- are the titanosaurs, which have been associated with dry upland regions in at least one recent study.

> (and their legs *are* pillars=2C true=3B but they're also incredably short =
> - unlike the sauropods I've heard of.

True.

> (hippos use their legs more to punt themselves through the water=2C more th=
> an walking)

Well, they walk at the bottoms of bodies of water (they're much denser than any sauropod, so they can), and they walk around at night when they come on land to graze.

Interestingly, despite being digitigrade, hippos are incapable of running.

 > The image of a lone mud-constrained giant covered by ant-like swarms
 > of k=
> > nife-toothed croc-types isn't likely a realistic scenario in a swamp. Crocs=
> > are ambush predators=2C=20
>
> at least the modern crocs are.

That's not the question. The important part is that crocodiles are capable of learning from the behavior of their prey... they're not too stupid to pass up a free meal.

 > Assuming an adult sauropod is in mud so deep that the base of the
 > neck at=
> > the water/mud surface=2C they would be quite vulnerable to croc attack=2C = > > especially if the head was also at that level. In shallower situations=2C i= > > t is the croc that is tactically vulnerable=2C mostly to stomping=2C especi=
> > al here groups* of sauropods are involved.=20
>
> if the mud is such that it traps the feet of carnivores=2C stomping may no=
> t be a very useful defense.

If the base of the neck is at the mud surface, the poor sauropod cannot move at any perceptible speed and is therefore a free lunch. :-|

 > Also=2C a well-trodden bottom laced w/ the bones of over-bold
 > predators a=
> > nd compacted vegetative material would offer the hind legs an excellent pla= > > tform from which to launch a counter-attack w/ the relatively compact front=
> > feet.

If the forequarters can be pulled out of the mud quickly enough. That is to be doubted.

 > Watching the familiar video of the gigantic croc(s) attacking the
 > flanks =
> > of migrating wildebeests gives the impression that even w/ those relatively= > > small herbivores=2C attack success is hardly guaranteed. Further=2C breaki= > > ng a sauropod into bite-size chunks might prove to be somewhat troublesome=
> > =2C=20

If it can't move quickly enough, it's a free lunch.

Crown-group crocodiles, *Deinosuchus* included, have conical teeth as incapable of cutting as a wolf's canines. The goniopholidids are outside the crown group, and they have cutting edges on their teeth. They're known from the Early Jurassic through the Late Cretaceous, and I think the very end of the latter.