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On Fri, 9 Jun 1995, Tony Thulborn wrote:
> - Alternatively, the huge difference in mass between a mother sauropd
> and her eggs (likely to be smaller than that of the elephant bird) allows
> the possiblity of huge numbers of eggs at a time. Which puts it way over
> to the r end of the reproductive spectrum (like toads who spawn lots) rather
> than the K end at which you find most mammals. So maybe they didn't
> bother with parental care, figuring that at least some of their low cost
> eggs would survive anyway. Again, no problem for dinner menus (at least not
> compared with large herbivorous mammals).
How about huge numbers of eggs laid a few a day over the course of a season
or, in tropical species, continuously? The older siblings would protect
their nestmates from being trodden on by careless parents and maybe perform
whatever other care was required. I imagine the juveniles could best
acquire their no doubt complex gut flora by eating older individuals'
regurgitated food or even faeces. They're beginning to sound like termites.