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Re: MORE ON SAUROPOD FEEDING HIGH & LOW



Relative to sauropods, Nicholas Longrich wrote (03/27/96; 3:55p):

[snip]

>The skulls and necks have been reduced down to the bare minimum
>necessary, so that the amount of bone, muscle and brain supported by
>the skeletal and circulatory systems is minimized. Sauropods
>actually evolved smaller brains to reduce the amount of blood needed
>in the head.

[snip]

Are sauropod brains really smaller than those of their ancestors with 
shorter necks?  How do we equate brain size vs. body size here (is that 
called "encephalization"?)?  This is the first place I've ever seen a 
discussion of selection pressure for _small_ brains--I mean, pressure to 
_decrease_ brain size.  It sounds like selection pressure to be stupid.  

If sauropod brains were twice the size (or so) they actually are, would 
that have made the amount of blood needed in the head prohibitively 
great?  Are we sure this is WHY sauropod brains are small?

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu