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RE: Diplodocus: Return to the Swamps????

Camarasaurus has precise tooth occlusion, but wear indicated that the teeth 
did, in fact, move against one another without intervening food. This 
indicates, as the articular/quadrate morphology and adductor relationships may 
support, that occlusion was variable and _could_ be precise.


Jaime A. Headden

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> Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 11:53:55 +0100
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: 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
> smaller bites.
> 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.
> Agreed.
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