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Re: Not: why the long face? but:why the long neck?



On Fri, Oct 9th, 2009 at 11:10 PM, David Peters <davidrpeters@charter.net> 
wrote:

> Curious for reasons as to what certain monitors do with their long,  
> long neck?
> 
> Spying seems to be one reason. And if they're evasive, perhaps it  
> gives a little extra time to spot and run?

I can think of several possibilities.

- 'Up Periscope' for scanning the terrain
- Temperature regulation
- To get their head deep into tight places (inside carcasses, termite mounds, 
rock crevasses when 
after small prey, etc)
- For sweeping back and forth while scent tracking with their forked tongue (it 
might help increase 
the swath width of their 'scan').
- To help counter-balance their long muscular tails, which they use to great 
effect to defend 
themselves.
- To enable their heads to turn back on their bodies during a fight with 
another monitor, while 
subduing snakes, or if it's grabbed by a predator. If you grab a small monitor 
anywhere except for 
the back of the head, it can bite you. You generally need to use two hands to 
subdue a small 
monitor; one at the base of it's neck and the other at the base of the tail (to 
prevent it from 
clawing you or whipping you with it's tail). Even then you've got a fight on 
your hands (or rather, 
*in* your hands).


-- 
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Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist                Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
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