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mesozoic terrain



> So we're talking about long and wide branching flood plains with rougher
> slopes at the borders. The big dinos have no problems negotiating the
> bottomlands or the "tops", but moving from one to the other *may* be
> problematical. I've seen various films of bison and African ungulate
herds
> negotiating similar slopes by treading down long and narrow "ramps" and
it's
> tough for them, especially in herds. When one takes a tumble - "domino
> effect". I'd guess bad for sauropods. 
> 
> If we mean that the "preferred ranges" were actually "moving" from year
to
> year due to erosion, I'd call this "serious" if not catastrophic. We can
> assume (or can we?) that big sauropod herds & maybe others had huge
impacts
> on local plant biomass, so they must have had to keep moving to find
food
> (??). The difficulty (again, if there was one) of negotiating slopes
must
> have been a factor in their behavior and that of their predators. 
> 
> (As the Pack chases the Herd into a box canyon, the lead sauropods begin
> pawing at the slopes, trying to start a ramp. At the rear of the herd,
400
> tonnes of panicked herbivore collide. A big cow slips and falls, and the
> theropods are on her, trying to dodge the lashing tails of the others.)

Looking at this repost I could definitely see where the terrain would
cause problems with migration however this could be overcome in various
ways.  Some herds of caribou cross many rivers and scale seemingly
vertical cliffs with little loss under normal weather conditions.  It is
interesting to think about how a predator situation such as the scenario
above could turn the terrain into a formidable enemy.  It is interesting
to ponder whether carnivores took this into account when hunting and used
it to their advantage.  Of course I don't know how smart it would be to
attack a group of boxed in sauropods!  Of course maybe if a few are
crushed, or driven off a cliff it is a simple matter as a theropod to
return later after letting the pack depart, to dispose of the carrion.
-Bill Parker
Northern Arizona University