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Re: Long-necked stegosaur, head tail mimicry?
"The idea that sauropod necks evolved to prevent them from having to
walk during grazing has to rate as one of the most ludicrous
explanations to ever enter the paleo literature (seriously, it's the
energetics equivalent of saying the long necks were snorkels that let
sauropods rest comfortably under 30 feet of water)."
Just because I'm interested, how do you think the energetics question
relates to efficiency of food processing in this case? Modern grazers
(and of course derived ornithischians, as well) have complex chewing
mechanisms to go along with their extensive gut floras. Given
sufficiently low-calorie fodder, couldn't a long-necked sweep-graze
pattern be a useful adaptation for conserving energy?
Of course, ferns and other foliage of the time apparently aren't quite
as energy poor as once thought, and it could be that maintaining
*such* a long neck would only be useful as a means to access treetop
forage during times of environmental stress or somesuch . . .
Hmm . . . do all the longest-necked sauropods come from similar
environments? The kinds with mostly-horizontal necks, I mean, not
necessarily stuff like brachiosaurs. And, contrarily, do the ones with
the shortest necks also tend to come from comparable environments?