STL Science Center

STL Science Center

21 December 2016

The Tall Tale

Barosaurus has interesting anatomy for a sauropod (typically long necks and tails, and fat bodies are all most people think about when they see these animals. One of the most interesting things about Barosaurus is actually the size of its neck and tail. Among diplodocids, Barosaurus is thought to have one of the longest and fattest necks in the family. This has led to some of the discussion about circulation and blood pressure that has been so central to the research that has been done on Barosaurus over the years. The tail of the dinosaur is equally long, though not considered to be fattened or wider than usual. Despite both of these enlarged or elongated features, one of the hallmark restoration characteristics of Barosaurus is not either of these features, but rather the sauropod's ability to rear back on its hindlegs to defend itself from predators. Assuming that the dinosaur had the agility and strength to do this, one of the longest necks and longest tails of its age rearing back and slamming down on its antagonist would be an effective weapon of self preservation. Equally useful would be the long whip-like tail and also the ability to hit others in a very giraffe-like manner. At the moment, the rearing Barosaurus is by far the most popular incarnation of the animal; however, other representations of the animal defending itself may someday appear as well.
©Fred Wierum (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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