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Re: polar sauropods

Brilliant info on this topic chaps!  Congratulations.  It seems they were as
polar as any other dinos...

--Original Message-- From: Sherry Michael <sherry@spatula-net.com> 05
December 1998 04:28

>I'm suprised no one has mentioned migrations. Maybe they lived in the polar
>regions in the summers and moved on to better pastures when it became
>really cold. This would also prevent some wear and tear on the flora too.
>Imagine if a few sauropods stayed in one area for great lengths of time.

Elephants migrate - some of them do, a bit, but I don't see sauropods doing
more than say a 600 mile round trip in a season, and that kind of distance
wouldn't make an enormous difference.  300 miles north-south is say the
distance from London to northern England - only a slight climate change.
Perhaps if they spent the vast majority of their time on the march they
could make a bigger round trip - say if they spent 300 days of the year
moving around their cycle - if they walked 5 miles a day, they could do 750
miles each way... but I don't think in the end it's going to change the fact
that they must have raised their young in very high latitudes.  Didn't
someone say that hatchling hadrosaurs were found near the northernmost end
of their range?  What's more, birds tend to raise their young at the polar
ends of their migration cycles.

But then if turtles could manage it...   or were those turtles marine?
After all, someone mentioned plesiosaurs were found in those latitudes too.
But surely even marine turtles couldn't have survived in real cold.  I know
some amphibians can survive in astonishingly cold climates, but I think we
may be justified in taking turtles as some kind of guideline - does anyone
know how far north turtles live today?  Were the turtle remains as common as
the sauropods, or could they have been making a brief foray in a time of
unusual warmth?

In any case, I'm beginning to think sauropods must have fed their young on
something produced by the parents.  I really don't see the babies getting
fat in a hurry on pine needles dragged down for them.  I wonder what baby
hoatzins are fed on.  Perhaps the parents stood some way off and lowered
their heads down to the nest, regurgitating and doing whatever else needed
to be done for the babies.  Hard to imagine parental care being managed any
other way if squashing was to be avoided.  Presumably we can rule out any
kind of direct-heat brooding, so ... eggs in rotting veg, or whatever
turtles do, then high-energy regurgitation for a while.  The scaly skin
would have been useful for avoiding problems with both ticks and flies, and
maybe heavy rainfall.  Can we rule out blubber?!