The 7 Days of Dinosaurs
Now I’m not sure if this will actually last 7 days but we DO have 7 study guide questions for the next exam so I will cover one question per day to get myself prepared far earlier than the day before this time around. I received a 95% on the first exam if you were curious.
Prosauropoda and Sauropoda: Life habits of, including use of tails, speed, evidence for aquatic or terrestrial habit, feeding methods as suggested by teeth, ability to move necks, herding as suggested by tracks, purpose of v-shaped dorsal spines on neck.
Well lets flesh this question out to be a few questions and work from there.
What are the life habits of Prosauropoda and Sauropoda?
First it is important to say that these dinosaurs were a bit unusual. That had big hind legs and somewhat shorter arms. This made it quite apparent that they were bipedal, however for a portion of them this is hard to grasp because their sheer size would mean that being bipedal given their proportions would be very difficult. They are considered the transitional phase of a creature going from bipedal to Quadra pedal, they are just in that really irritating limbo stage. Now that I look back this describes the PROsauropods, the sauropods (which came later) were fully Quadra pedal as far as I can tell.
My personal opinion is that when they weren’t in a hurry to get somewhere or when they were going long distances they went bipedally, however when they wanted to do something quickly or travel short distances they’d (somewhat awkwardly) move quadrapedally.
Sauropods. You knot the big herbivores. Quadrapedal. This and the previous image are from the slides and not me. Full Credit to whoever originally made them (as well as the Professor for providing them).
Expanding upon the previous question what was the use of their tails?
Their tails were likely used for balancing. They aren’t short or flexible enough to drag on the ground, why they would drag them is beyond me. It seems more a consequence of gravity for low level reptiles than an evolutionary perk.
The Speed at which they moved?
As stated before I’m relatively convinced that they didn’t move very fast. Well the Prosaurapods actually might have been fast, they were much smaller. But the Saurapods were most certainly slow.
The evidence for aquatic or terrestrial habit?
Both groups have body types that are very very similar to elephants. It is likely given the similar walking styles and their body shapes that the saurapods and Prosarapods were terrestrial, but may have enjoyed a swim just like Elephants.
The feeding methods as suggested by their teeth?
Now while the teeth might look long you’ll notice they are all blunt. This is one of multiple skull related traits that lead us to believe they eat leaves. The next thing to notice is their lower jaw and the hinge for it. On a carnivore this would be above and lead down to the teeth however on an Herbivore it would be below. This is because they didn’t need to sheer flesh but instead would yank large quantities of food off of trees.
This image from the slides shows you in the middle a carnivore and on the right an herbivore. You will notice that the herbivore has extra space on the sides of their teeth to store food to aid in grinding it. Carnivores have no sides and you can usually see their teeth on the sides of their mouth without much work. Whereas one party (the carnivores) don’t really care where the meat drops I’d be pissed if I spent a bunch of time yanking leaves off a tree just to drop a bunch.
What do we know about their neck mobility?
This one is tricky. For the Prosauropods it was likely similar to all other small bipedal dinosaurs. The Sauropods however couldn’t (or rather it is very unlikely that they could) raise their heads higher than the highest level of their spine. This is probably because frankly when you are as big as they are you don’t really need to lift your head much higher. I mean…what would you lift it for? Peek on some other dinosaurs who are bathing or something. Jeeze not all dinosaurs were perverts. However for visual aid here is a nice picture from our slides to see the sheer size of these beasts.
How do tracks found of these animals suggest herding behavior?
Considering that the tracks that have been found tend to not overlap (unless there are vast quantities of tracks) and move with one another it is highly likely that these animals herded.
What is the purpose of their v-shaped dorsal spines on the neck?
Well the massive size of these animals required any reinforcements it could possibly get. This would have helped to support a ligament known as the Nuchal. Essentially it was a really long reinforcement line to help keep everything from falling apart. Likewise I’m pretty sure ligaments like this mean the animal wouldn’t have to straight to keep its head up (it would be able to relax and still have its head not slouch). Which is pretty important I’d say.