Besides the often contested issue of how sauropods held their necks and whether they could bipedally or tripodally reach high to browse, one topic we touched on was breathing. Here we discuss not the remarkable system of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in the sauropods’ birdlike unidirectional lungs, but the simple aspiration of air and the basic question of where the fleshy external nostrils (external nares) were placed on their heads. This obviously makes a huge difference in the appearance of the animals, and also has a direct relationship to a basic problem for sauropods when they became really huge: how to keep breathing while you have to drink.
At this time we still don’t know how whether sauropods, as with some extant giant mammals such as elephants, were heavily dependent on liquid water or, like some species of mammalian herbivores such as macropodid kangaroos, could obtain whatever water they needed from the plants they browsed. Because sauropods didn’t chew their plant food like other dinosaurian herbivores (Hallett, Wedel 2016), they would have to have been dependent on massive amounts of saliva to help the esophagus’ (food tube’s) muscular contractions sluice the fibrous material down their long throats. To create this a lot of moisture was constantly needed, probably to some degree in the form of free water from ponds, rivers or lakes. For sauropod species like Camarasaurus, Barosaurus, Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and others that lived in seasonally arid environments like the Late Jurassic western US, an efficient system of water retention from browse would certainly have been adaptive, but the huge creatures may have also habitually migrated to local or more long-distance free water sources if these were available.
Most of us have seen pictures of long-necked, long-legged giraffes splaying their flexed forelimbs apart in order to lower their heads down close enough to drink from a watering hole; if the forelimbs stayed straight underneath the body, the neck would be unable to flex downward from its base at the chest at enough of an angle for the head and mouth to penetrate the water’s surface, and drink, by sucking up mouthfuls aided by the cheeks and then swallowing. Like other large ungulates, flexible lips help a giraffe in ingesting water into the mouth. Tall modern elephants don’t have this problem because their vertically-positioned trunks, which they use for sucking up water and transferring to their mouths, are as long as their legs. Although in the wild they often wade into a water body they can easily drink while standing.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
What's New in review
Papo of France creates highly detailed prehistoric animal figures (if not always the most scientifically accurate.)
Today we have an excellent, new kit based upon a scene from Ray Harryhausen's cowboys vs. dinosaur film, The Valley of Gwangi.
WHAT I DID ON MY LOCKDOWN
A tyrannosaur in the local area? How cool!
The Forgotten Dinosaur Art of Robert T. Bakker
A renaissance marks a shift in the attitudes and behaviours of an entire society.
A flock of Deinonychus dart from the dense forest they had been moving through across the broad floodplain to the tree line on the far side.
Reminiscing Over Dinosaurus!
“Alive! After 70 million years! Roaring! Walking! Destroying!” (Ad line for Dinosaurus!)
“Determined to travel from the North Pole to the South Pole, Amos Barrett and his team of adventurers have arrived in the Late Triassic to drive the length of Pangea, the only time in the planet’s history when the continents had fused into one giant landmass.
How to Draw Dinosaurs
Putting it all together, the body of Ankylosaurus
Dinosauriana Imagined 13
Dinosauriana Iberiana (A Spain-ful Endeavor)
Dinosaur Collector News
Mollusca is the second-largest phylum of invertebrate animals after the Arthropods and the largest marine phylum. Molluscs include gastropods, cephalopods, and bivalves. The cephalopods, the most advanced class of mollusks, include ammonoids, belemnites as well as the octopus and squid. Nautiloids are the early forms. They get short shrift in the toy companies.
WAS AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ‘BOT’ THE SECRET TO EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND’S AMERICA’S CUP SUCCESS?
Kingpins and wannabes barrel through the London underworld.
‘TANTALIZING' RESULTS OF 2 EXPERIMENTS DEFY PHYSICS RULEBOOK
Preliminary results from two experiments suggest something could be wrong with the basic way physicists think the universe works, a prospect that has the field of particle physics both baffled and thrilled.
Everything We Know About For All Mankind Season 2 on Apple+
Ever imagined what would have happened had the Cold War space race never ended? What would have happened if the Soviets had been the first power to have a successful landing on the Moon? Well, you needn’t trouble yourselves anymore, as Apple TV+’s For All Mankind tells you exactly that. The show, created by Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, was a hit for Apple when its first season debuted in November 2019. Today, we are discussing the show’s ongoing second season and the information we know about the announced third season.
B&B: BROOKE CONFRONTS THOMAS ABOUT HOPE
Thomas overhears a conversation between Brooke and Ridge where she expresses her fears about Thomas reverting to his old ways regarding Hope.
INTO THE WOODS
B&B’s Thomas and Liam may not be friends on screen, but their portrayers had a great bonding experience when they took a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park.
For All Mankind: Taking Apple Tv+ To The Moon And Beyond
Whilst Apple TV+ may still be small in comparison to Netflix and Amazon Prime, its string of successful series and breakthrough movies have positioned it as a must-have service for all lovers of immersive, thought-provoking material.
Matt: FIXING HIS MARRIAGE AWAY FROM HOME!
Matt Damon is hoping a change of scenery will save his rocky 17-year relationship with wife Luciana Barroso.
What Bills Fans Are Saying
Bills Digest scanned the Bills’ Facebook page and other fan message board sites to gauge the hot topics Bills Nation is talking about. We chose some of the better posts, edited for brevity and clarity, and present them here, along with Bills Digest editor Mark Ludwiczak’s take on what’s being discussed.
JUST IN TIME
Robots in a 5G World