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Commentary on Sauropod Neck Posture

Posted by tigerhawkvok on April 30, 2009 00:24 in biomechanics , dinosaurs , sauropods , biology , paleontology

If you look at a (yikes! month old) Science "Letters", there an interesting, if brief, back-and-forth about sauropod neck posture between RS Seymour and PM Sander.

Up front, I'd like to say like Sander, I don't necessarily disagree with Seymour's conclusion; my own work (still undergoing revision that is halting its review process) strongly suggests that the necks were mostly held laterally, due to energetics and biomechanical concerns. However, I do take issue with the blanket scaling argument used on several points.

DSCF4647

Ara ararauna (Blue and yellow macaw), Hawaii

First, it is important to note that the work done by Seymour is based on mammalian modeling. I have no comment as to whether it strengthens or weakens his argument this way; however, as a saurischian dinosaur, a bird would be a much more convincing model point. Second, their morphology is wildely divergent even from birds, the closest living species to them. The anology, even to birds, would be as problematic for me as the biomechanical study that based T. rex on Gallus gallus (chicken). Merely being a close relative does not ensure analogy; the musculature distribution, posture, and body shape in both cases are significantly different from the model animal. The results might very well be interesting, but they are not sure be relevant at all.

While I also have some issue with the "plug and chug" nature of the blood pressure calculations, those you can't really get around — though I'd at least like to know if it was based on mammals or birds.

Well, that's my 2 cents for now. More later.

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freedom mentor

freedom mentor | 27/02/2015 05:25

Commentary on Sauropod Neck Posture | The Dichotomous Trekkie 2.0

freedom mentor

freedom mentor | 27/02/2015 05:22

Commentary on Sauropod Neck Posture | The Dichotomous Trekkie 2.0