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Re: Fwd: Protoceratopsoid tails adapted for swimming

On Wed, Dec 4th, 2013 at 10:29 PM, Michael OSullivan 
<michael.osullivan@port.ac.uk> wrote:

> Not the first time this idea has been put forward for neoceratopsians
> or any animal with high neural spines on the tail. However, apart from
> the, to me, fairly obvious lack of aquatic adaptation in the body
> (I've heard the hippo argument  for ceratopsians a couple of times
> before but yet to see any major support for this) the environmental
> considerations strongly argue against this that three of these taxa
> come from a desert environment. It is extremely unlikely that
> herbivores/omnivores which occupy a desert are going to possess strong
> aquatic adaptations.

Hippos can't actually swim. They move through the water by walking across the 
bottom. Their solid 
limb bones give them no bouyancy whatsoever, so they tend to drown if stuck in 
deep water they 
can't walk out of.  When you see what looks like a hippo bobbing in the water 
with its head visible 
at the surface, it's actually sitting dog-like on the bottom of fairly shallow 

If protoceratopsoids were filling a similar niche to that of modern hippos, 
they wouldn't have 
needed flattened tails. Or indeed tails at all.


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj