Jul. 3rd, 2014

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Amargasaurus cazaui, from Argentina's late Jurassic period, may be familiar to some of you who played the latest generation of the Pokemon games. Amaura and Aurorus were based off of this species of sauropod, which carries twin rows of spikes down its neck. It was formerly thought that these spikes supported sails of skin, but analyses have shown that if that was the case, Amargasaurus' sails would have rendered its neck inflexible, making it unlikely. Instead, they were probably free spines, and would have served the sauropod well both for display and also for intimidation and defense. One paleontologist has even suggested that the spikes, which were probably covered in a thick sheath of keratin, could have been used as a sound display. The Amargasaurus could shake its neck and cause the spikes to rattle against each other, creating a clacking sound not unlike a very large set of bamboo chimes.

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Lauren Helton

September 2014

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