Monday, February 28, 2005

Friendly Herbivores

Kris left a comment on a post I made on a new species of raptor, mentioning that it would probably be more frightening coming across a gigantic Seismosaurus than one of these small predators. For those not in the know a Seismosaurus is a sauropod, much like a Diplodocus, and the longest dinosaur ever discovered; running up to 170 feet, and weighing around 200,000lbs (that's the same as eighteen African elephants). It was 84 feet high. That's big. In fact it's so big that I can't even imagine what it might have been like to look up at one of these giants. Just pause and think about it for a moment.

Which leads me on to my next point- I'm a big fan of dinosaurs and dinosaur movies, though they are few and far between. Lately the Jurassic Park series has been the main contender and while I have issues with them, I'd sit and watch them over and over again just for the dinosaur action. One of my main complaints (apart from the only gun in the Park in the original movie being a SPAS12. What's that about?) is the protrayal of the herbivorous dinosaurs as being gentle giants. They're able to feed and pat a brachiosaur on the head it's so meek and mild. I just can't buy this- why would these vast herbivores behave like domesticated cattle? Wouldn't they behave a bit more like wild herbivores? Cape Buffalo for example are notoriously mean tempered. Even an elephant isn't that gentle- I'm fairly sure you couldn't just walk up to a bull elephant in Africa and pat it, not without being stomped to death anyway. Wouldn't a brachiosaur behave in a similar manner? I think part of the problem with this is, dare I say it, the liberal view of the wild. The carnivores are basically insane killers, rather than creatures which hunt to eat, and the herbivores are gentle peaceful beings that sing like whales. I think I prefer the sauropod in King Kong, which capsizes a raft and then proceeds to kill the sailors on board.

So now imagine a 200,000lb, 84 foot high dinosaur with a bad temper and a tail which it can crack like a whip (and probably not just one, there's most likely a herd of them). Now, that's pretty damn scary.

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