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SLEEPING DINOS... ZZZZZ
I have long pondered over what certain extinct critters did at sleepy-time.
Theropods, and other small-medium sized archosaurs, surely kipped like modern
carnivorans. Note also that ostriches actually lie down on the ground, legs
stretched out, neck limp, for 10 minute sleeps (otherwise they do a standing
nap). Giants, like the biggest duckbills and tyrannosaurids, were probably
limited in the time that they could lie down, as are elephants.
But what about sauropods? Elephants and giraffes are perhaps the best analogues
we can use. 1) Elephants (adult, anyway) don't need much sleep - consider that
a big sauropod must have spent most of its life eating - and I suppose that
sauropods maybe only slept for a couple of hours (or less) a night. Many modern
herbivores - I know that this is true of horses and sheep - seem to munch
intermittently throughout the night. On a bit of a tangent here, some animals
can undergo quite complex behavioral routines when asleep *when their lives
depend on it*. Cetaceans, for example, rise up and down in the water column to
breath when asleep and water birds keep one eye open and see with it while
asleep (both examples only sleep with 'half' a brain). Would it be possible for
an animal than needed tonnes of food to kip while still munching? Hypothetical
speculation nonetheless.............. 2) Giraffes (who get struck by lightning
sometimes) spend sleep time by just napping for several minutes at a time, while
standing. But every now and then, they actually 'sit' down and, by leaning the
neck over till the head rests on the ground (to the side of the body), sleep
deeply for 10 minutes or so. In this position they are, obviously,
extraordinarily vulnerable. I consider similar behaviour fairly appropriate for
sauropods... if they slept that is.
"What? You forgot your 'Big Book of Quotes'?"
"No, I have a headache"