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RE: Determinant of dinosaur fecundity?




On Sun, 2 Feb 1997, Nathan Myhrvold wrote:
> It is possible that there were other indirect factors.  However, an 
> argument can be made that given a fairly low investment in a given clutch, 
> that there is no evolutionary reason for the parents to invest a great deal 
> in behaviors to protect it.

I wish you _would_ make this argument.  I would be interested to hear it
since (I think) there are not many creatures around that employ such a
strategy as this sort of serial abandonment.

I agree that an egg is relatively inexpensive for such a big animaI.  But
20 eggs may not be.  And you must also factor in the time and effort that
goes into laying.  In this regard, did you see the latest on Troodon which
layed its eggs over a considerable period of time and apparently incubated
them so they would hatch together?  This adds up to a considerable
investment.  Also, for really big layers their second and third clutches
are just as likely to be discovered as their first.  Somewhere along the
line this must get expensive.   Serial abandonment
is ineffective as animal size increases.  Also new nest sites may well be
contested adding another cost.  Serial abandonment would ultimately fuel
predator population increases which inturn make the strategy _more_
expensive than defence.  I believe, evolutionarily speaking, it was less
expensive to defend.  But this put a premium on size and nastiness.