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Re: live birth(social solution



(oooops, ignore the last post I did...somehow I sent the letter I was
responding to)
---------------------
Forwarded message:
Subj:    Re: live birth(social solutons?)
Date:    95-03-08 15:42:06 EST
>From:    Flyinggoat
To:      bill.adlam@st-peters.oxford.ac.uk

> But what I have problems with, regarding the sauropods, and even 
> allowing that they may have laid the largest eggs that we >currently know
about, is the sheer practical problems of being a >sauropod parent and NOT
squishing your offspring that you have >just expended so much genetic energy
producing.  Their eyesight >would need to be exceptionally good, given the
size of the newly->hatched, to avoid this as a very real problem. [Anybody
got >anything re endocasts of sauropod optic lobes?]  

>>Why eyesight?  Couldn't they just carefully pick their way >>around by
touch?   Or keep their distance from the nest?  Or as >>Stan said, they might
have had no parental care (I'm not sure if >>this makes a difference to the
likely numbers and position of >>juveniles in herds).  Or if you like
creative ideas, maybe the >>babies clung on or lived in pouches.  Or maybe
they produced lots 
>>of offspring and just ate the ones they accidentally squished.

     Bats have an interesting social solution to a similar problem.  Bats
live in colonies (numbers similar to herds or greater).  They give live birth
to 1 or 2 babies.  The mother has such a high metabolism that she needs to
leave the babies to feed for long periods of time.  Bat babies are fairly
helpess and cannot fly, yet they spend their youth hanging upside down in
caves and wedged into cracks.  ...SO...   Nature has provided in that bat
colonies are usually made up of females and their daughters for long
generations (not really applicable, so I continue).  The mother bats in the
colony seem to assign a single juvenile female (usually too young to breed
herself) to watch the babies as the mothers all leave to feed.  The juvenile
female is responsable for retreiving any baby bats that fall out of the
colony.  
    Maybe sauropods use the juveniles to babysit the very tiny young?  Maybe
only the juvenile medium-size sauropods breed, and the larger ones only serve
to protect the herd due to their ominous size?   Maybe the sauropods don't
nest at all, and once the eggs are laid (if they lay eggs) they leave the
area, leaving the eggs to survive on their own?

Betty Cunningham(Flyinggoat@aol.com)