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On Tue, 19 Sep 1995, Betty Cunningham wrote:
>OK, OK, OK...so a bunch of sauropods of different sizes and ages are
> wandering around in a conifer forest. One of the big ones goes up to a
> redwood AND WALKS ITSELF UP THE SIDE TO A REARING POSITION,
> and then the tree falls over. Sequoias have nortoriously shallow root
>systems. Sequoia californica(George?), the coastal one is always falling
>on roads in the winter during high winds. Wouldn't a multi-ton animal
leaning >heavily on the base of one of those things knock it over? Then
all the shorter >and younger saurapods scramble up to the end they can
now reach while the >tall one goes back to browsing what it can reach
without knocking trees >over."
If it didn't knock the tree over, it would certainly have bent it.
Actually, bending the tree and extending the neck horizontally along the
trunk to feed on the tree top (now much closer to the ground) may make
some sense. Biomechanical modeling of sauropods by Kent Stevens and
Michael Parrish (discussed in the November issue of Discover
magazine--I'm not sure if they've published) suggests that some sauropods
(Brachiosaurs in particular) may have had a very limited range of neck
motion. If that is true, a "bend it and eat it" feeding behavior could
explain the advantage of having a long neck that couldn't be used to
elevate the head much above the horizontal. Not to mention the advantage
of saving the tree for another meal on another day.