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February 20, 2008
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Plateosaurus engelhardti by ScottHartman Plateosaurus engelhardti by ScottHartman
Plateosaurus means "flat reptile", a name that was long poked fun at in the days of Godzilla-inspired upright postures. Then prosauropods suffered through a "they are all quadrupedal" phase (which I participated in), which still made a mockery of the name, as the position contorted the body so that the tail had to arc up into the air above the body. Well, it turns out that Plateosaurus-grade "prosauropods" used a low-slung subplantigrade bipedal posture instead which makes "flat reptile" not such a bad name after all...

Update: Brought the silhouette up to date. I went with the "fat tail" style contour for the ventral margin (the bottom!) of the tail, as many extant diapsids are like this, and with the low fourth trochanter and high transverse processes Plateosaurus is a prime candidate to have had similarly large caudofemoralis muscles.
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:iconzewqt:
ZeWqt Featured By Owner May 18, 2014
I have a question: As Plateosaurus was unable to pronate its wirts, could it be possible for this Dinosaur to walk on all fours like an Anteater, you know, something like walking on its knuckles? I ask that because I'm not sure about the flexibility of its fingers and its scapula (I guess they weren't really flexible though)...
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 19, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Plateosaurus actually has fingers that let the hand be placed on the ground. The problem for any sort of quadrupedal locomotion isn't the hand but rather the motion of the limb overall. Plateosaurus wouldn't have had a problem dropping to all fours, it just wasn't going anywhere in particular when down there.
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:iconzewqt:
ZeWqt Featured By Owner May 28, 2014
Okay, thanks for the info. :)
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:iconpedrosalas:
PedroSalas Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Student Artist
Looks like prosauropods has finally standing on two legs is didn't standing on all fours.
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:icondarthgojira:
DarthGojira Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013
I keep forgetting how short the front limbs are. While I'm sure that it could move quadrupedally, seeing the proportions here really shows them as bipeds.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Actually the problem isn't with the arm length (although that would make quadrupedal movement slow at best), but with wrist mobility. At this point on the sauropodomorph tree the hands are stuck in a theropod-like "palms always in" position that makes quadrupedal locomotion basically impossible.

I'm not saying they couldn't crouch down on all fours, say if they wanted to eat something low to the ground, or duck down to hide under some (tall!) brush, but they sure weren't going anywhere on all fours, as there was no plausible stride.

BTW, this isn't just "hey I read the paper" talk (although there's some excellent work published on it), Heinrich Mallison and I spent a good couple of hours with a full 3D scan of an a Plateosaurus hand trying to get them to walk (I favored facultative quadrupedality at the time), and it just wasn't possible, despite enthusiasm for making it work.
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:icondarthgojira:
DarthGojira Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013
Fascinating. I didn't know that. I knew that the theropods had "palms in" posture, but it's new to me about prosauropods. I suppose the wrist rotated as they became heavier. This is really interesting. I wonder if there was a similar wristbending when ornithopods became semi-quadrupedal
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, the palms-facing-in thing is primitive for Dinosauria. There was indeed a similar inward bend in ornithopods on the way to hadrosaurs, but they never got as far (neither did ceratopsians), as both end up with something closer to a 45 degree inward cant to their hands, while sauropods get the hand facing a bit more inward (thought still never with the palms facing perfectly backwards).
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:iconblazze92:
bLAZZE92 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013
I always thought that Plateosaurus had a goofy (if not ugly) head mmm, btw what's the thing below its jaw?
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