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Re: Sauropods, Elephants and Moas
>Even if there were, it is highly unlikely that the sauropods would
>put much effort into eating it. Their broad mouths indicate bulk
>non-selective feeding on mostly low quality browse. Fruit is
>high quality food, and is mostly eaten by *selective* feeders.
>The overall structure of an elephant looks much more selective to
>me - both the pointed mouth and the prehensile trunk are adaptations
>to selective feeding, not bulk browsing.
If your point is that elephants make lousy models for sauropods, you won't
hear any disagreement from me. In my view everything alive makes a lousy
model for a sauropod - that's why it's so hard to figure out what they were
like. And I take your point about Camarasaurus - ther must have been
substantial niche differentiation among the various forms.
What is frustrating, come to think of it, is how close we came to having an
entire guild of large herbivorous archosaurs to study to our heart's
content. I mean the moas of New Zealand - the various species represent a
range of feeding adaptations far closer phylogenetically to dinosaurs than
anything else we have around. They may not have told us much about
sauropods - but imagine - we didn't miss seeing a terrestrial fauna
dominated by large herbivorous dinosaurians by 65 million years, but by
about 500 years or so. The first New Zealanders actually lived among them -
and, in typical human fashion, killed them off.
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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