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STL Science Center
06 November 2013
Aeolosaurus and Its Tail
The tail of Aeolosaurus had some rather interesting neural spines on their vertebrae. We mentioned previously that Aeolosaurus has anteriorly deflected neural spines on the caudal vertebrae. What is the precise reason for having a neural spine that is positioned forward rather than the typical convention which faces posteriorly, or backwards? Neural spines are used for muscle attachment, as well as other attachments such as stiffening tail rod ligaments in some species of dinosaur. There are other instances, other than closely related titanosaurs, which have anteriorly directed neural processes. Searching for for some valid reason, other than a different configuration of muscle attachment that serves the same purpose as posteriorly deflected processes, that neural spines would be deflected forward rather than to the rear has been fairly difficult and, honestly, nearly impossible to find in morphological studies. Muscle configurations that serve the same purpose but are aligned differently would not necessarily be farcical; it could simply be that Aeolosaurus was built differently. It could also be that something was put together incorrectly, it has happened before. I hope that someone somewhere is studying the configuration or that someone knows the answer already and I just have not found it or do not see the answer clearly at this moment, but will sometime soon!