USENET article on sauropod dinosaurs
There exists a dilemma in the study of the large animals which
lived in our world in past ages. Scientists used to think that
sauropod dinosaurs lived in water, believing it self-evident that
they were too heavy to have borne their great bodies on land. We
now have good evidence that sauropods walked and ran on land (the
Texas footprints), as well as the evidence of wear and tear which
sauropod teeth show; you get that from eating leaves, giraffe
style. Eating soft aquatic vegitation doesn't wear anybody's teeth
Sauropods had no adaptation for life in water; amongst other things,
they'd have needed huge flat feet to avoid getting stuck in the mud of
river bottoms etc.. They didn't have them.
Nonetheless, the sauropods were still too heavy for our world.
It is known that muscle tissue is nearly identical for vertibrates
under the miscrope (For instance, "SCALING - WHY IS ANIMAL SIZE SO
IMPORTANT", Knut Schmidt Nielsen, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1984, pp
163-164), as well as that creatures generally lose (or at least do
not gain) efficiency as they grow larger (by scaling). Thus, one
might logically regard the level of effort attainable by a man such
as Bill Kazmeier as a kind of an upper limit for creatures his size
or larger, on a lb. per lb. basis. Kaz could deadlift or squat 1000
lbs or thereabouts, and used to amuse himself by embarassing the
strongest men from the NFL and the WWF in the old television "World's
Strongest Men" events.
It is a simple observation that the square/cubed problem which
reduces the power-to-weight ratios of creatures as they scale
upwards can be compensated by dividing through by the 2/3 power of
bodyweight of the creature involved; indeed, this is the natural
scaling factor for all competitive lifting events. It may also be
noted that dividng through by the 2/3 power of weight roughly
compensates for the difference between quadrupeds and bipeds, since
virtually every muscle in a lifter's body is being used for maximum
squats and deadlifts.
The ratio we get for Kaz doing a 1000 lb squat (thighs parallel to the
ground and then up again) is:
1350 / 350**(2/3) = 27.288801
which may be viewed as a rough upper limit for lifting efforts by
creatures as large or larger than Kaz.
Now, let's examine the ratios we get observing various creatures simply
lifting their own weights off the ground, which any land animal must be
able to do.
For humans between 130 and 230 lbs, you get a ratio of around 5 or 6 just
to stand up e.g. 130/130^(2/3) ~= 5. The number goes up fast, however,
yeilding around 17 for a 5,000 lb creature and around 25.3 for the 16,000
lb stuffed elephant, Jumbo, at the Smithsonian museum. Thus we see a
curious near equality for the ratios of lift derived from the ultimate
known weight lifting feat which resembles in any way the ordinary act of
standing up, and the actual act of just standing up as done by the
largest creature known to have lived in historical times.
What this means, is that elephants have simply evolved into the largest
animals possible on our world; just a tad bigger, and they'd not be able
to stand up at all.
This may be regarded as the basic reason that we do not see creatures
larger than an elephant in our world. Basically, a big elephant is the
largest theoretical as well as the largest actual creature of our world.
For a 70,000 lb brontosaur, however, you get a ratio around 41, which means
that a brontosaur simply could not live in our world, since he would be a
creature unable to stand. Some major league difference between our world
as it exists now and as it existed prior to the flood is needed to
explain the dilemma.
Nobody has any qualms about weight figures for brontosaurs; they are
generally described as being around 70' and 35 tons, making them
something like 4-5 times the actual weight of the 8-ton elephant I
mentioned. Nothing to marvel at. Brontosaurs were known in the last
century, and until recently were thought to be the largest land
creatures. Recently, however, a number of collosal finds have been made
including supersaurs, ultrasaurs, brevoparipus (of which we have only
tracks), and the seismosaur. The brevoparipus tracks indicate a
gigantic size (given as up to 160'), and the actual skeleton of the
seismosaur is now known to be around 140' long (see the July issue of
The seismosaur turns out to be a two-for-one, double-sized brontosaur,
and that says that you multiply the weight figure (35 tons) by eight.
The thing weighed around 560,000 lbs, and would derive a ratio of around
83 just to stand. I mention this because, in the past, a number of the
t.o regulars have advanced the basically stupid argument that the
sauropods somehow got better leverage in standing than we humans do.
The case of the seismosaur shows that for the rubbish it is. A
completely impossible triple lift, or power-lifting combined total of
3000 lbs for squat, dead-lift, and bench press by a 250 lb athlete,
which guaranteed uses every muscle in his body to the outright max at
least twice, would only yeild a ratio of around 76. The seismosaur
needs more than that just to stand.
Think about the reality of a 560,000 lb animal. Our biggest tank, the
Abrams, weighs around 60,000, and the biggest tank of all times, the
German Tiger, weighed around 80,000. Despite treads and every
technology, the tiger suffered an extreme lack of mobility; the tiniest
bit of rain or mud or loose ground, and it was stuck.
Likewise, the largest birds which fly in our world are around 30 - 35
lbs, and those are barly capable of takeoffs and landings; we know,
however, that quite aside from Quetzlecoatlus Northropi which flew at
300 lbs and more, the pteratorn, a 160 - 200 lb golden eagle also flew.
Albatrosses and other large birds have wings made for lift; they are
the bird equivalents of sailplanes/cargo-planes. For a 160 lb eagle to
fly in our world is as impossible as... picture a C5A, the largest
aircraft manufacturable and flyable given our current jet engines,
materials, and manufacturing techniques, and then picture building and
flying a fighter plane with virtually NO lift in its wings somewhere
between five and seven times the size of the C5A. Eagles and pteratorns
are bird equavilents of fighter planes. It can't happen.
Likewise, there appears to be some size limit inherent in the design for
virtually every creature which crawls, walks, flies, or swims on this
planet. Bigger and stronger are inveriably better until you cross some
threshold at which the design for a creatures no longer works well.
With dogs, the hips give out, with men, the lower back, with birds,
flight... And yet, most of these size limits were considerably larger
in past ages then they are now. The world supported the 1000 lb super
lions of North America, the 400 lb wolf-bear, the giant cave bears,
super bison, super rhinos, mammoths bigger than our present ones,
dragonflies with 3' wingspans... the list goes on and on. The natural
question, especially in the cases of elephants, bison, rhinos etc. which
we KNOW were once larger, is: "If it worked once, why does it no longer
work? Why do they not RE-EVOLVE to their former sizes?"
Of course, the limiting factor in all of these considerations was
nothing other than our old friend, the force of gravity, or more
precisely, the felt effect thereof. The only real answer to any of
these dilemmas is that the felt effect of gravity must have been heavily
attenuated in the antique world by forces no longer in evidence. Yet
another way in which realities of the antedeluvian world varied from
those of our own.
This, Velikovsky and latter day catastrophists can account for.
Establishment scientists and their apologists can do nothing with any of
this but make excuses, scream, curse, bandy the word "pseudoscientist"
about in much the manner in which their spiritual forbears attempted to
use garlic and the inquisition against witches and werewolves, and
generally wring their hands and weep.
Usenet article on dilemmas involving ancient birds and flying creatures;
the teratorn, a 170+ lb raptor is mentioned, as well as the fact that central
asians have not managed to actively breed a hunting eagle larger than 25 lbs
despite efforts dating back to Chengis Khan's time and further.
In past ages, not only 300+ lb flying creatures (Texas Pterosaurs), but
also 160 - 200 lb modern birds (teratorns) flew. Nothing much larger
than 30 lbs or so flies anymore, and those creatures, albatrosses and a
few of the largest condors and eagles, are marginal. Albatrosses in
particular are called "goonie birds" by sailors because of the
extreme difficulty they experience taking off and landing, their
landings being (badly) controlled crashes, and all of this despite long
wings made for maximum lift. The felt effect of the force of gravity on
earth was much less in remote times, and only this allowed such giant
creatures to fly. No flying creature has since RE-EVOLVED into anything
like former sizes, and the one or two birds which have retained such
sizes have forfeited any thought of flight, their wings becoming
Adrian Desmond ("The Hot Blooded dinosaurs") has a good deal to say about the
pteranodon, the 40 - 50 lb pterosaur
which scientists used to believe to be the largest creature which ever flew:
Pteranodon had lost its teeth, tail and some flight
musculature, and its rear legs had become spindly. It was,
however, in the actual bones that the greatest reduction of
weight was achieved. The wing bones, backbone and hind limbs
were tubular, like the supporting struts of an aircraft, which
allows for strength yet cuts down on weight. In Pteranodon
these bones, although up to an inch in diameter, were no more
than cylindrical air spaces bounded by an outer bony casing no
thicker than a piece of card. Barnum Brown of the American
Museum reported an armbone fragment of an unknown species of
pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Texas in which 'the
culmination of the pterosaur... the acme of light
construction' was achieved. Here, the trend had continued so
far that the bone wall of the cylinder was an unbelievable
one-fiftieth of an inch thick! Inside the tubes bony
crosswise struts no thicker than pins helped to strengthen the
structure, another innovation in aircraft design anticipated
by the Mezosozoic pterosaurs.
The combination of great size and negligible weight must
necessarily have resulted in some fragility. It is easy to
imagine that the paper-thin tubular bones supporting the
gigantic wings would have made landing dangerous. How could
the creature have alighted without shattering all of its
bones! How could it have taken off in the first place! It was
obviously unable to flap twelve-foot wings strung between
straw-thin tubes. Many larger birds have to achieve a certain
speed by running and flapping before they can take off and
others have to produce a wing beat speed approaching hovering
in order to rise. To achieve hovering with a twenty-three
foot wingspread, Pteranodon would have required 220 lbs of
flight muscles as efficient as those in humming birds. But it
had reduced its musculature to about 8 lbs, so it is
inconceivable that Pteranodon could have taken off actively.
Pteranodon, then, was not a flapping creature, it had neither
the muscles nor the resistance to the resulting stress. Its
long, thin albatross-like wings betray it as a glider, the
most advanced glider the animal kingdom has produced. With a
weight of only 40 lbs the wing loading was only I lb per
square foot. This gave it a slower sinking speed than even a
man-made glider, where the wings have to sustain a weight of
at least 4 lbs per square foot. The ratio of wing area to
total weight in Pteranodon is only surpassed in some of the
insects. Pteranodon was constructed as a glider, with the
breastbone, shoulder girdle and backbone welded into a
box-like rigid fuselage, able to absorb the strain from the
giant wings. The low weight combined with an enormous wing
span meant that Pteranodon could glide at ultra-low speeds
without fear of stalling. Cherrie Bramwell of Reading
University has calculated that it could remain aloft at only
15 m.p.h. So take-off would have been relatively easy. All
Pteranodon needed was a breeze of 15 m.p.h. when it would face
the wind, stretch its wings and be lifted into the air like
a piece of paper. No effort at all would have been required.
Again, if it was forced to land on the sea, it had only to
extend its wings to catch the wind in order to raise itself
gently out of the water. It seems strange that an animal that
had gone to such great lengths to reduce its weight to a
minimum should have evolved an elongated bony crest on its
Desmond has mentioned some of the problems which even the
pteranodon faced at fifty lbs or so; no possibility of flapping
the wings for instance. The giant teratorn finds of Argentina
were not known when the book was written... they came out in the
eighties in issues of Science Magazine and other places. The
teratorn was a 160 - 200 lb eagle with a 27' wingspan, a modern
bird whose existence involved flapping wings, aerial maneuver etc.
How so? There are a couple of other problems which Desmond does
not mention, including the fact that life for a pure glider would
be almost impossible in the real world, and that some limited
flying ability would be necessary for any aerial creature. Living
totally at the mercy of the winds, a creature might never get back
home to its nest and children given the first contrary wind.
There is one other problem. Desmond notes a fairly reasonably
modus operandi for the pteranodon, i.e. that it had a throat pouch
like a pelican, has been found with fish fossils indicating a
pelican-like existence, soaring over the waves and snapping up fish
without landing. That should indicate that, peculiarly amongst all
of the creatures of the earth, the pteranodon should have been
practically IMMUNE from the great extinctions of past ages.
Velikovsky noted that large animals had the greatest difficulty
getting to high ground and other safe havens at the times of floods
and the global catastrophes of past ages and were therefore
peculiarly susceptible to extinction. Ovid notes (Metamorphoses)
that men and animals hid on mountain tops during the FLOOD, but
that most died from lack of food during the hard year of the FLOOD.
But high places safe from flooding were always there; oceans were
always there and fish were always there. The pteranodon's way of
life should have been impervious to all mishap; the notion that
pteranodon died out when the felt effect of gravity on earth
changed after the flood is the only good [sic] explanation.
From: Peter Lamb
Subject: Re: Neo Catastrophism / Findings
Organization: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, CH
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Lamb)
>It is a simple observation that the square/cubed problem which
>reduces the power-to-weight ratios of creatures as they scale
>upwards can be compensated by dividing through by the 2/3 power of
>bodyweight of the creature involved; indeed, this is the natural
>scaling factor for all competitive lifting events. It may also be
>noted that dividng through by the 2/3 power of weight roughly
>compensates for the difference between quadrupeds and bipeds, since
>virtually every muscle in a lifter's body is being used for maximum
>squats and deadlifts.
This 2/3 power is only good for a relatively small range (like
comparing humans of different weights with each other). However,
mass = K length ^ 2.73
mass = K length ^ 3
as in Anderson et al., provides a far better fit to the data for the
masses of living animals, and Anderson states that you have to be *very*
careful about exactly how the lengths are measured; Anderson uses the sum of
the circumferences of the upper leg bones of his animals (all four
for quadrupeds, weight-supporting legs for bipeds). You *can't* just
use the nose-to-tail measurement that Ted uses; in fact, he uses different
measures for different animals; foot-to-crown for humans, and nose
to tail for dinosaurs, for example.
It is interesting that the bone circumference measures used by
Anderson agree reasonably well with his volumetric mass measures
(like McGowan [not McGowen as Ted likes to misspell it], Anderson used
archemedian methods on models for these mass estimates). This is
relevant to this argument, since bone size is an indicator of *weight*,
and the volumetric methods give *mass*; the two numbers agree for the
same specimen only if g ~= 10m/sec^2.
This can be seen from a table I posted when Ted was last pushing this guff:
In Alexander, Table 2.2, p25, there are 3 estimates for 3 species of
(metric tons) (calculated from lbs mass)
a b c a b c
Diplododocus carnegiei 11.7 18.5 5.8 29.5 34.4 23.4
Apatosaurus louisae 33.5 - 37.5 41.9 - 43.5
Brachiosaurus brancai 87.0 46.6 31.6 57.6 46.8 41.1
a. Estimated from volume of a model by displacement of sand,
mass originally using density 0.9gm/cc, rescaled to 1.0gm/cc
by Alexander for comparability with b, from .
b. Estimated from volume of model by mass of displaced water, assumed
dinosaur density 1.0gm/cc.
c. By extrapolation of a curve fit for humerus+femur total circumference
using the formula:
mass(kg) = 8.4e-5*[total bone circumference]^2.73
>The ratio we get for Kaz doing a 1000 lb squat (thighs parallel to the
>ground and then up again) is:
>1350 / 350**(2/3) = 27.288801
Oh dear, Ted, have you *STILL* not learned that the best 3-digit approximation
for 2/3 is 0.667, not 0.666, and that if you approximate a power like that,
you can only count on about 3 digits of accuracy in your answer?
>which may be viewed as a rough upper limit for lifting efforts by
>creatures as large or larger than Kaz.
>Of course, the limiting factor in all of these considerations was
>nothing other than our old friend, the force of gravity, or more
>precisely, the felt effect thereof. The only real answer to any of
>these dilemmas is that the felt effect of gravity must have been heavily
>attenuated in the antique world by forces no longer in evidence. Yet
>another way in which realities of the antedeluvian world varied from
>those of our own.
>This, Velikovsky and latter day catastrophists can account for.
But only by discarding most of what we know about science.
Peter Lamb (email@example.com)
PS: Ted, it would be a help to everyone in the argument, yourself included,
if you *stopped* using Imperial measures for mass/weight, and used
metric units for force and mass where appropriate. The last time
this argument happened, the uncertainty whether when you talked
about lbs you meant mass or force led to a great deal of confusion.
From: Dr Pepper
Subject: Felt effect of dino weight
> From: news@fedfil.UUCP (Ted "The Indomitable One" Holden)
> Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
> I'm going to let you in on a couple of secrets here: I personally do not
> have the time to be wandering the earth in search of dinosaur footprints
> right now, and I'm not sure I'd know how to estimate weights from track
> depths if I did.
Not being sure is a ok. You can always learn. It's the things you are sure of
that cause trouble.
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