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Re: Dinosaur size determinants.
> I think it was Jim Kirkland who proposed the idea that dinos may have been
> big because of the benefits of the need for less energy/gram of body mass
> in big animals. This would, presumably, allow the utilization of poor
> quality forage.
I think you mean Jim Farlow. He has written a couple papers
suggesting that ectothermic dinosaurs could afford to be large and
abundant enough to maintain healthy population sizes because they wouldn't
require as much food. This is an important consideration considering how
much continental crust (compared to today) was underwater for much of the
Mesozoic, particularly during the Cretaceous. Not lower calorie food,
just less of it. However, as Jim Kirkland (and Kirk Johnson, the
paleobotanist at DMNH) have pointed out, the plant material known from
the Morrison material doesn't seem to be terribly high quality forage, so
this might also be an important consideration.
Could the expansion of the Western Interior Seaway and the consequent
reduction of dinosaur teritory in North America be responsible for the
relative rarity of sauropods, particularly really large ones (compared to
the Late Jurassic) in North America during the Cretaceous?