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Dino Talk Apr. 21-30, 2002: A Dinosaur Forum


We have a family of Swallows nesting above our front door. What i've seen near my house in the last few months are. Lots of Pukeka's (chicken sized blue, flightless native birds), some Kingfishers, a Tui, a Bellbird, tons of Possoms and at night i can hear Kiwi's and Morporks (a type of native owl).
One really cool thing was that when i went to the south island not long ago i saw the first wild Kea i had ever seen.

from Tom G, age ?, ?, ?; April 30, 2002


"I've been here all along. I was just waiting for someone to post!
I'd like to here from each of you an estimate of how fast a typical Brachiosaur could move if you get the chance. I'm just trying to get more posts. I have my own ideas about this subject but I'd love to here yours."

Brachiosaurus?

That would not be too easy.
For one I am not familiar with either B. brancai's or B. Altithorax' leg and hip musculature, and I am not aware of any Brachiosaurus trackways, which would greatly help.

But I'll try, assuming that Brachiosaurus was heavily muscled, quite flexible, and walked in a fully upright stance. I just don't see how such a heavy animal could walk in any other way.

I would also have to take into account Brachiosaurus' great weight, and it's long neck which it could not lower too far. (You may think it's irrelevant but every detail matters. If you had a neck taller than your body it would affect the way you walk for sure!)

Speed would also vary according to the size of the individual.

Young animals which are expected to walk as soon as they are born generally have proportionally long legs, and are of course much lighter! But if we are talking Ultrasauros size animals, I doubt that they could go anywhere in much of a hurry. I certainly don't think that they where clumsy and ungainly though. That's a stupid old victorian view. You need to assume in palaeontology but they assumed too much and got a very wrong picture.

The size of an arm of a reasonably large Brachiosaurus would be about 3.4m, from posterior humerus to anterior metacarpal II. The legs where shorter tough, like in a modern giraffe, although I don't think that Brachiosaurus walked like a giraffe, which is comparativley lightweight, and has much more slender long legs. The back legs would be about 2.5m. Here is a copy of a Microsoft Word document used to record my calculations:

"Exact Brachiosaurus spp. measurements taken from a photograph of the Humboldt museum in Berlin

Humerus: 3.4cm
Radius: 3.6cm
Femur: 1.7cm
Tibia: 2.8cm

Posterior humerus to anterior metacarpal II (actual size estimate): 3.4m

humerus:radius ratio = 1.058823529:1
femur:tibia ratio = 1.647058824:1

leg : arm ratio = 4.5cm : 7cm = 1:1555555556

Posterior femur to anterior metatarsal II (actual size calculation based on estimate): 2.185714285m"

Please note how on the arms the radius is longer in proportion to the humerus than on the legs the tibia is to the femur. That is because the arms are so much longer, so if the arms where to keep up with the legs the elbow joint would have to be higher off the ground.

All in all Brachiosaurus was not built for speed. Supporting it's great weight was an urgent priority.

BTW, I think that Bakker's "Galloping Brachiosaurus" is improbable. Bakker was just getting carried away with his new found fame and popularity.

When normally walking around, the adult Brachiosaur would move at about 6-7mph. Remember that just because of it's size each step would take it quite a considerable distance forward. When trying to get somewhere in a hurry, (unlikely,) maybe 12-14mph. maximum.

But remember, these giant creatures had no enemies at all, nothing could touch them. They had no need to hurry anywhere. The average Brachiosaur may have been able to move relatively quickly for it's size and weight, but it probably never did because there was no point. Why run when you can amble to your destination at a leisurley pace? What's the point?

For baby Brachiosaurs maybe 15mph whas possible if they ever ran around. But play is only important to predators and very intelligent animals, and Brachiosaurus was neither. And the babies would have spent a lot of time putting on weight to get to their adult size. They had no time for running around. And if Brachioasurs grew slowly, well, they'd still need to eat all the time. Anyway, my point is, that Brachiosaurus couldn't go very fast, 12-14mph maximum is my speed estimate, but I think they never did go as fast as they could because there was no point.

Now that was one long post. Whew!
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 25, 2002
I had someone go through our archived mail and he found it! JC


Maybe I forgot to put my nickname AND dad's em@il.

You didn't get a single post with information about Brachiosaurus JC?

It took like twenty minutes to do!
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 30, 2002
No, but perhaps it was saved on another computer when we had heavy traffic. I'll have someone check ASAP. If I find it, I'll certainly put it up. JC


"If it's not up then, something mysterious happened to your e-mail. JC"

You didn't get any large posts about Brachiosaurus at all?

Noooooooooooooooooo!!!

It was so big that I can't be bothered to do it again!
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 28, 2002


In Los Altos Hills wildlife isn't extremely rare. Here's what I've seen in my backyard since the beginning of 2001: A very large Tarantula, a bobacat(although my brother accidently scared it away...), numerous racoons, a Porcupine, several Opossums, several Skunks, numerous white-tailed deer, an uncountable amount of birds and squirells, and of course, rats.
from Tim M., age ?, ?, ?; April 26, 2002


"This place used to be bustling with activity and now it's deserted. Someone HAS GOT to think of a topic. I'll keep trying to think of one."

This has gotten really bad. We need more people bad ways.

Hey, if only my parents agreed, I'd actually be prepared to pay for some more people to come here myself!
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 25, 2002


JC - I did a humungous post on Brachiosaurus yesterday.

But it isn't up. Did I forget to put to put my dad's Em@il or was it too big to be put up or something like that?
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 25, 2002
I posted all the one's I got so far today. Sometimes, when our servers are really busy, e-mails sent during those busy time periods aren't delivered to me until after midnight. That happens so that the web pages get first priority during peak usage. If that's what happened, I'll get your post (and upload it) within the hour. If it's not up then, something mysterious happened to your e-mail. JC


"Today I saw a mother bird feed it's baby chicks-in my backyard!
Two birds (no positive I.D. on the species, yet) built a nest in one of our plants, and the eggs they laid there hatched while we were in France. As you might have guessed I think this is really cool."

I agree totally. Tell me what they are when you find out!

In my previous house, blackbirds used to nest in the privet hedge.

Recently, woodpeckers where nesting in a rotting tree right next to our garden. But It got hit by lightning and fell. After the woodpeckers had gone, luckily!!!

Now we still have wildlife. The pond has common frogs and newts, and the frogs actually spawned a few weeks ago! The tadpoles have hatched and are swimming around there right now.

Squirrels and woodpigeons and magpies visit often, too.

At the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Center, (I forgot exactly where,) a blackbird was actually nesting INSIDE one of the hides from where you can observe rare ducks and geese! Blackbirds are known to nest in strange places though.

Does anyone know a book called "ANIMAL: THE DEFINITIVE VISUAL GUIDE TO THE WORLDS WILDLIFE?"

It has both quality, (compiled by an international team of over 70 biologists, zoologists and naturalists) and quantity (624 pages!) You can recognise it by the Mandrill staring at you from the front cover. I recommend it as a good buy, although I don't know if it's out in the USA or NZ though. ;)
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 25, 2002


Today I saw a mother bird feed it's baby chicks-in my backyard!
Two birds (no positive I.D. on the species, yet) built a nest in one of our plants, and the eggs they laid there hatched while we were in France. As you might have guessed I think this is really cool.

from Tim M., age ?, ?, ?; April 24, 2002


"
Hello?

Where is everybody!?

Hey, come back! Please!"

I've been here all along. I was just waiting for someone to post!
I'd like to here from each of you an estimate of how fast a typical Brachiosaur could move if you get the chance. I'm just trying to get more posts. I have my own ideas about this subject but I'd love to here yours.

from Tim M., age ?, ?, ?; April 24, 2002


""So I like your story Gianna."

Which one? :)
from Gianna, age ?, ?, ?, ?; April 21, 2002"

Huh?

JC, I'm sure I answered Gianna's post. Maybe I forgot to put my dad's Em@il?
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 24, 2002
Ok, it's online now. JC


Hello?

Where is everybody!?

Hey, come back! Please!
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 24, 2002


"Which one? :)"

Well, both.

The one where the Raptors challenged that Spinosaurus is a sort of black comedy, I find it very entertaining. The other one, DinoStory, you haven't done loads on yet, (yeah, yeah, look who's talking) but I think It'll be like a thriller or a chiller.

And I like that too.

The stories are good.
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 22, 2002


Since I got back from a birthday party and I'm sluggish from eating lots of cake, I'll mindlessly plug my story. In the next chapter, Biogen decides to ditch the raptor/human/T-rex project and create an even deadlier assasin: Velocichierus! Also, the raptor/human/T-rex thing is on the loose! What will happen to the typical suburban populace? This and more in the next exciting episode of- ARGH! The sugar is messing with my...brain... *slumps over*
from Joe Bob B., age 11, Menlo Park, ?, ?; April 21, 2002


"So I like your story Gianna."

Which one? :)
from Gianna, age ?, ?, ?, ?; April 21, 2002


I liked your story Gianna. I'm running out of ways say how I like people's stories!!! "It was good" is naff, "Great story, Gianna/Joe Bob/Tom G/Tim M" is old, a long and posh complimentary review takes time and effort to compose, and sounds pompous, so I think I'll stick with "I like your story." It never gets old, doesn't sound naff and is straight to the point. So I like your story Gianna.
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 21, 2002


Thanks for telling me about the Neoceratosauria Tim.
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 21, 2002


"There have been many more Allosaur findings than Ceratosaur findings in the Morrisson formation, for example."

I agree. Even if you take away all those Allosaurs from that site where they died in that tar pit (what's that site called again!?), there are still more Allosaurus finds.

And how do you explain the fact that there where no Torvosaurs or Ceratosaurs at that tar pit site?

Either because:

1) They where so much rarer than Allosaurs!

or

2) The Allosaurs where dominant there and the Allosaurs not yet stuck where driving away the other carnivores because the Allosaurs where stronger. Or the other predators just gave the place a wide berth. Quite ironic that they where driven away from certain death because they where scared of the Allosaurs stuck there! Or they just kept away because all the roars of the stuck Allosaurs where scaring them.

Actually I agree with both theories.
from da masta, age ?, ?, ?; April 21, 2002


"NO OFFENSE GIANNA AND TIM AND OTHER REX FANS HERE."

None taken.
from Tim M., age ?, ?, ?; April 21, 2002


"What I don't get is the "neoceratosauria," which allegedly contains Dilophosaurus! Where exactly in the theropod cladistics are the "neoceratosauria" and what do they contain? I'm not very clear on that."

The Neoceratosauria is allegedly a branch of the Ceratosauria containing C.nasicornis and the Abelisauroidea. Therefore it's a stem based taxon containing all Ceratosaurs closer to C.nasicornis than to Coelophysis. In that case, Dilophosaurus shouldn't be part of that group.
from Tim M., age ?, ?, ?; April 21, 2002


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