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Ontogenetic similarities between giraffe and sauropod neck osteological mobility

The functional morphology of sauropod dinosaur long necks has been studied extensively, with virtual approaches yielding results that are difficult to obtain with actual fossils, due to their extreme fragility and size. However, analyses on virtual fossils have been questioned on several of their premises, such as the ability to accurately reconstruct intervertebral tissue with only skeletal data; or whether zygapophyseal overlap can be used to determine the limits of range of motion, since some extreme neck poses in extant

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Why sauropods had long necks; and why giraffes have short necks

The necks of the sauropod dinosaurs reached 15 m in length: six times longer than that of the world record giraffe and five times longer than those of all other terrestrial animals. Several anatomical features enabled this extreme elongation, including: absolutely large body size and quadrupedal stance providing a stable platform for a long neck; a small, light head that did not orally process food; cervical vertebrae that were both numerous and individually elongate; an efficient air-sac-based respiratory system; and

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Understanding selection for long necks in different taxa

There has been recent discussion about the evolutionary pressures underlying the long necks of extant giraffes and extinct sauropod dinosaurs. Here we summarise these debates and place them in a wider taxonomic context. We consider the evolution of long necks across a wide range of (both living and extinct) taxa and ask whether there has been a common selective factor or whether each case has a separate explanation. We conclude that in most cases long necks can be explained in

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