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Nesting strategies (was Big = Old = Advanced?)



Rob Meyerson wrote:
> 
> 
> It has been mentioned before that nesting hadrosaurs may have followed a 
> similar nesting strategy to penguins and other seabirds.  Perhaps this safety 
> in numbers
> defence helped in two ways.  Firstly, it would provide many more eyes and ears
> to watch for danger.  Along those same lines, a mob of angry hadrosaurs may 
> have

        I have oftened wondered whether hadrosaurs would have
benefited from having tyrannosaurs around, in a kind of symbiotic
relationship. If hadrosaurs nested in Tyrannosaur territory
and accepted the occational predation, perhaps the presence of
the Tyrannosaurs would have detered other large predators from
patrolling the area. It's a "better the devil you know" situation,
where the hadrosaurs only have to watch for a single group
of predators rather than having all types of theropods bothering
them. In response to this they would have to nest in large numbers
for predation not to put too great a dent in the population. Perhaps
the weaker individuals were relegated to the outer perimeter of the
nesting area while the bigger, stronger and healthier individuals
fought to claim the safer inner areas. This strategy would result
in a general improvement in the hadrosaur population, with the
more dominant individuals getting a better chance of reproduction.
It may also help select for fast infant growth, minimizing the
amount of time between egg laying and the juveniles being able
to follow the herd. If that time was minimized then I imagine that
even a fair sized group of tyrannosaurs (assuming they formed
family groups and were not solitary) would not have to take
many adult hadrosaurs. This may also explain why many hadrosaurs
grew so large: to provide tyrannosaurs with enough food with just
a few individual hadrosaurs having to be killed, and to enable the
largest hadrosaurs to claim the safest inner nesting positions by
fighting amongst themselves.
        Random musings really. It's not like this sort of
detailed behaviour could ever be infered from fossil remains.
-- 
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        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia
        http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/4459/

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