[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Huevos Dinosaurios



Calcium is not only important in animals as a structural component of
bone, it is also important for blood coagulation, muscle contraction,
myocardial function and of course the manufacturing of eggshell.  Egg
laying animals need supplements of calcium not only for the above
functions but also to keep their eggs strong and also for the animal to be
able to lay the egg safely.  I'm curious on how the dinosaurs would have
supplemented their diet with calcium.  The calcium for the eggshells must
come from stores in the body, chickens for example store this calcium in
extensions of bone.  After laying, these stores must then be replenished.
Of course chickens lay many more eggs than dinosaurs would have, and would
need to replenish this supply faster and more often.  Dinosaurs, I
imagine, would also need to receive calcium supplements also to insure
healthy egg laying and to decrease the risk of "egg-binding".  Where would
this calcium come from?  Are ferns and gingkos a good source of calcium?
Maybe they would need to do as chickens do and eat the occasional oyster
shell or pieces of limestone (origin of gastroliths?).
What about the carnivores?  There is a suspected case of gout in a T-rex
fossil.  How would this animal been able to reproduce with such low
amounts of calcium in the body.  Of course maybe this individual was
older, or male.  If this was a common problem with T-rex it would seem to
cause a terrible effect on the egg-laying capabilities of the animal.  Of
course these animals did reproduce so the problem must have been overcome
in most of the animals and low-calcium must not have been a problem.  As
such it would seem that most dinosaurs were getting minerals in their diet
from somewhere (calcareous dirt?)  Does anyone have any comment on this
subject?
 -Bill Parker
Northern Arizona University