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Re: Resting (and Dining) Sauropods




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> From: Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>
> To: Jack <jconrad@lib.drury.edu>
> Subject: Re: Resting (and Dining) Sauropods 
> Date: Wednesday, July 15, 1998 11:49 AM
> 
> Jack wrote:
> > WORD PYRAMID (start from bottom, go to top)
> > 
> > buzzard, eating dead wolf, incorporates x/50 orig. kilocalories/mass
unit
> > wolf, having killed cow, incorporates x/10 orig. kilocalories/mass unit
> > cow, having eaten grass, incorporates x/2 orig. kilocalories/mass unit
> > grass containing x kilocalories/mass unit 
> > 
> > therefore:          ^
> >                   /buz\     /\ less nutritional value
> >                  /zard \    || per mass unit of ingested  
> >                     / wolf  \   || material as we go up the pyramid
> >                /   cow   \  ||
> >                   /   grass   \
> >                  ---------------
> 
> Maybe it's just me, but I'm a bit confused as to your point and your
> question.
> 
> Before you wrote that "most any plant material will have more nutrition
> value than meat."  I'm not an expert on this subject, but that statement
> runs counter to what I've read.  Think about it: an owl dines on a rodent
> and "horks up" a pellet of indigestible fur and bones, but processes
> everything else.  Hunters such as lions have a lot of time to lounge
around
> after a kill, whereas herbivores are constantly eating.  After an
elephant
> dines on grasses and leaves, the excrement that it produces is not much
> different than the grasses and leaves that went in, so the quantity
> absorbed per unit isn't very great, and the animal must spend most of its
> time either eating or traveling to the next food source.  You don't see
> them sleeping 20+ hours per day.  And, of course, herbivores are renowned
> for their chewing apparatus and their big guts because it takes some
effort
> to extract the nutrients from plant material, especially in folivores.
> 
> Regarding the food pyramid you depict, what does it say? Isn't the point
of
> such a pyramid to show that an ecosystem can support a large quantity of
> herbivores, but only so many carnivores?  The same field of farm land
that
> can produce a quantity of wheat or vegetables can be used to produce
grass
> to feed cattle to produce beef, but the mass of beef produced would be
much
> less than the mass of plant material (for human consumption) produced. 
So
> the herbivorous human can be said to be more efficient, because less land
> need be allocated for his/her food, but a greater mass of vegetables
would
> be consumed by said human in order to keep pace with an omnivorous human.
> 
> In the above pyramid, there is more edible matter available to mammals at
> the bottom, and there is simply not enough food to go around at the top
to
> support a large population (or a large mass) of "buzzards" and wolves. 
But
> meat is a denser package of calories and nutrients than plant material,
is
> it not?  Am I misinterpreting something here?
> 
> -- Ralph Miller III     gbabcock@best.com
> 
> When Ray Harryhausen was animating "Mighty Joe Young," he adopted a
> vegetarian diet in an effort to understand the gorilla psyche, but he has
> said that he had to quickly abandon this habit, as he was losing weight! 
 
>