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why do dinosaurs have such long tails?


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#1    cyrus11

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:07 PM

why do they have such large long tails? doesn't such tail make them less maneuverable, especially in wooded areas where turning would be impissible?
also, if a predator is chasing you, the tail would be a major drawback because the predator just has to grab a hold of your tail and you cannot get away anymore. someone please explain the purpose of such a tail and how it would benefit the survival of an organism like a dinosaur


#2    BurnSide

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:08 PM

Balance and buoyance. The same reason animals today have tails.
Just large animals such as dinosaurs needed equally massive tails to balance themselves out otherwise they'd fall over face first all the time.

Edited by BurnSide, 13 January 2006 - 11:09 PM.


#3    cyrus11

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:12 PM

then why doesn't ostrich have a long tail? why couldn't dinosaur simply evolve to a form that change their center of gravity so that they do not need such long tails? think about it.. such tail actually hinders an animal than help it..
trying to chase an ostrich and it's saurian counterpart, you'd catch the dinosaur first because the tail is so long you'd reach and grab it before it can get away... while the ostrich has no tail and it puts distance away from the predators


#4    Yelekiah

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:15 PM

An ostrich isn't as "horizontal". And dinos are extinct. Perhaps they would have evolved but all we can do at this point is speculate.

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#5    frogfish

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:42 PM

I'm here to help!

Dinosaurs have long tails for BALANCE. Raptors tails are stiff, if you ever noticed, so that they can achieve fast speeds without losing balance. Same goes for all other theropods, which have semi-stiff tails.  Sauropods use tails for balance too. Their tails need to be extremely lon to help balance them. It would be impossible for a sauropod to manuever with a stiff tail. Plus, they have A LOT of vertebrae in the tails. Sauropods tails can also be used as whips (i.e. Diploducus) and sauropods, such as Shunosaurus, Omeisaurus and possibly Mamenchisaurus have tail clubs. Anklosaurs have clubs on their tails to protect them, while stegosaurs have spikes.

Yes, a predator can grab a hold of the tail, but that won't kill them...Pick one, lose a fott of your tail, or not being able o keep balance, and fall while being chased by a Giganotosaurus....

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#6    Tillghast

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 05:34 PM

Thats basically what Burnside said.

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#7    zandore

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 06:40 PM

Quote

... while the ostrich has no tail and it puts distance away from the predators

Wrong


To show dominance, an ostrich holds its head up high and lifts its wings and tail feathers; to show submission, the head, wings, and tail droop down.


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#8    frogfish

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 07:25 PM

sincw when do birds not have tails?

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#9    Sofia Alexandra

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 04:58 PM

Birds have tail feathers, not actual tails. And as to why dinosaurs had tails, it depends on what kind of dinosaur you're talking about. Some examples:

Diplodocus. A big, massive body with a long neck and a long tail. Remove the tail, and it will fall foward. Remove the neck, and it will fall on its butt. Remove both the neck and the tail, and it won't have anything to defend itself with, as it uses its tail as a whip. And considering the sizes of the predators, defence is crucial.

Deinonychus. Uses its tail to keep the balance while running, much like a cheeta.

Tyrannosaurus Rex: Would fall on its face if it didn't have a tail.

Iguanodon. Spent a lot of time walking on four legs, but the front legs would break if the tail hadn't been taking some weight off them.

Comparing dinosaurs to birds doesn't really work, because most dinosaurs are much larger and a helluva lot more massive. Small dinosaurs, such as the compsognathus, are easier. They have a tail to keep balance when they're running around, just like the road runner has long stiff tail feathers.

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#10    frogfish

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 07:08 PM

Birds do have rudimentary tails....

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#11    zandore

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 07:16 PM

QUOTE(Sofia)
Birds have tail feathers, not actual tails.
Sorry Sofia


A bird's tail consists of a tailbone, a set of flight feathers, and a layer of covering feathers at the base of the tail. The tailbone is a group of six fused vertebrae called the pygostyle, which supports the tail feathers. Rump muscles control both the pygostyle and the tail feathers.

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#12    frogfish

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:11 PM

Exactly

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#13    Sofia Alexandra

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:56 PM

When I say tail I mean as the kind of tail you see on for example a dinosaur, a mouse or a lizard. Yes, birds have rudimentary tails, but they're just little stumps that you don't see because they're covered in feathers. And even if you remove the feathers it's not that much of a tail.
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#14    DaKong

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 12:45 AM

Eww poor birdy. laugh.gif

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#15    Incubus420

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 01:00 AM

You're all wrong. The only single reason why dinosaurs had tails is so that once they would die and we'd dig them up we could wonder why they had tails. just playin.

Edited by Incubus420, 22 January 2006 - 01:00 AM.

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