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Re: Long-necked stegosaur coming out in Proceedings B

> > I would also expect few predators to approach their
> prey
> > head-on, since that's generally a good way to 
> > be spotted quickly by your prey. 
> In a dense forest situation, this only works if the
> prospective prey can view the approaching predator through
> (or over) the vegetation.  Hence the advantage of having a
> longer neck to peek over the vegetation, periscope-style.
> > Even if they did try the
> > direct approach, surely their prey would make 
> > some sort of attempt to turn around and move away
> before
> > the predator got there. Either way, you'd 
> > expect a predator to be dealing with a stegosaur's
> hind
> > quarters more often than not.
> Definitely.  Spying an approaching predator would allow the
> stegosaur to take evasive action, or (failing that)
> defensive action by swinging the body around such that the
> tail was suitably positioned (i.e.,
> "thagomizer-first").
> > Perhaps a longer, more flexible neck made looking back
> at
> > predators easier? The problem with having 
> > your main defensive weapons on your tail is that you
> have
> > to turn your back on your enemies to use it. 
> > Being able to look backwards to aim your tail swipes
> might
> > be an advantage.
> For sure.  In other words, improved better
> 'eye-tail' coordination so the stegosaur is not just
> blindly swinging its thagomizer and hoping for the best (or
> worst, if you happen to be the predator).


While possible, I'd have to wonder why the rear end of the tail would be facing 
the predator, rather than the side. Most animals that use their tails in 
defense (crocodiles, monitor lizards, iguanas, etc) tend to present one side, 
or another to an attacker. This has the benefit of presenting a much larger 
target to the predator (which in this case, would be intimidating rather than 
inviting), and allowing for "better aim" of the tail. 

Case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSEG6USSS8Y&feature=related