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re: polar sauropods

>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.
>-Sherry Michael
>ANSP prep lab

Polar sauropods on large land masses probably migrated during the winter
months, however those that lived in Late Cretaceous New Zealand had quite
literally nowhere to migrate to unless they were prepared for a very long
paddle. Their only option was to "rough out" the winter on the island along
with several theropods, ornithopods and ankylosaurs who were, I'm sure,
just as thrilled at the prospect. Oddly enough, the NZ dinosaurs seem to
show no sign of dwarfism which one would expect in an insular environment.

It has been speculated that NZ sauropods grazed on fallen leaf mats during
this time but given the rather poor nutritional value of shed (as well as
half-frozen) leaves, this sounds like a rather harsh way of life. Or they
may have eaten like pigs before the winter chill and lived off reserves.

Suggested reading:
Molnar & Wiffen (1994) A Late Cretaceous polar dinosaur fauna from New Zealand.
Cretaceous Research 15: 689-706.

Rich, T (1996) Significance of Polar Dinosaurs in Gondwana, Mem. of the
Queensland Museum 39)3) 711-717.

Wiffen, J (1996) Dinosaurian Palaeobiology: A New Zealand Perspective, Mem. of
the Queensland Museum, 39(3) 725-731.

Brian Choo