Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Odd article about sauropods

Here is a weird article in the Guardian saying sauropods are carrying their heads all wrong. And I quote:

The controversy goes to the heart of our perception of the largest of the dinosaurs, the sauropods, which became widespread 150m years ago in the late Jurassic. According to the researchers, the beasts did not stick their necks out in front of them as so often depicted, but held their heads high on majestic, curving, swan-like necks.


"Unless sauropods carried their heads and necks differently from every living vertebrate, we have to assume that the base of their neck was curved strongly upwards," said Mike Taylor, a palaeontologist at Portsmouth University in the UK, who led the study. "In some sauropods this would have meant a graceful, swan-like S-curve to the neck, and a look quite different from the recreations we are used to seeing today."

I'm not sure what living vertebrates he's talking about. Horses, goats, deer, moose and other largish herbivores carry their heads out in front of them, sometimes lifting them higher for whatever reason. But if you think about them moving quickly they sure don't carry their heads up in the sky. Even giraffes don't carry their heads high above them, but sort of at an angle.

I'll need to hear more about this, or a better explanation, before I do much more shrug and feel baffled.



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