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Re: Protoceratopsoid tails adapted for swimming

Working from the basic geometry, thermal shaping of the tail would predict 
proportionally more extreme radiative architecture as size increases -- all 
other things held constant. 

Certainly an obligate intragenerational crossing of a croc filled river would 
be classed as a survival event, and both swimming speed and herding behavior 
would be advantageous.

Even if Mike finds the tail anatomy to be less than ideal, I would think wider 
and flatter would an improvement over a mere 'broomstick', assuming there was 
no interference wit terrestrial function.

On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 1:03 PM EST Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

>And let's remember: big tall flat surfaces are great for dumping heat in
>thermally-challenging environments. So there are other reasons to have big
>flat tails.
>On Thu, December 5, 2013 12:59 pm, Mike Habib wrote:
> I will have to look carefully at the original paper, which I have not a
> chance to do yet. However, one caution with swimming adaptations is that
> efficient swimming is not merely a matter of moving a flat tail laterally.
> The manner in which the tail moves and transfers momentum to the water is
> quite important. Nearly any big flat tail that has base mobility can be
> used in swimming if need be, but not just any big flat tail is
> particularly good at it, and therefore the range of tail morphologies we
> would conclude to be specializations for swimming are different from the
> array that can manage.
> Cheers,
> —Mike
>Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
>Email: tholtz@umd.edu  Phone: 301-405-4084
>Office: Centreville 1216
>Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
>Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
>Fax: 301-314-9661
>Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
>Fax: 301-314-9843
>Mailing Address:       Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
>                       Department of Geology
>                       Building 237, Room 1117
>                       University of Maryland
>                       College Park, MD 20742 USA