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Re: [Re: back to science]

Betty wrote:
> Mammals that grow rapidly are usually particularily delicate until
> growth stops.
>   Case in point: Scottish Deerhounds are big dogs, larger than Great
> Danes.
> The pups are born at about 6 oz each.  We've measured pups growing at
> about an inch a day after the 4th week.  They have to be supplemented so
> that they don't develop rickets or other dietary deseases as they are
> frequently growing too fast for their bodies to keep up. Broken bones
> are common.  They slow down their growth at about 4 months and continue
> growing in height and weight (primarily weight after year 1) till they
> hit about 2 years.  An adult male stands over 7 feet on it's hind legs
> and weighs over 140 lbs and they live about 10 years max.
>   I have no references for an animal to to grow this large this quickly
> that's not a mammal but I suspect that the EXTREMELY large size of
> sauropods precludes this rate of growth.  In mammals the growth is
> supplemented by calcium and other minerals in the mother's milk, but I
> would assume herbivourous dinosaurs such as sauropods had no such
> assistance to gain the needed minerals quickly and would have to soley
> depend on egg shards and high-mineral content plants such as horsetails,
> and perhaps ate dirt in addition to gain needed minerals.
>   In other words, where would they find and consume the needed materials
> to grow themselves at a very high rate?
> -Betty Cunningham

Actually green iguanas are renowned for there phenomenal growth rates. They 
start off as hatchlings measuring under 12 inches and in 3 years time reach 
sexual maturity at 4-6ft (depending on sex) Now baby green iguanas don't get 
much parental care, and definitely don't suck mild from mommy, so they instead 
just gorge themselves on all abundant leafy material. This is one of the 
reasons why these animals are so easily farmed and also for their high 
mortality rates as pets. Pet shop owners give off the false information that 
either the animals need to be fed only once a week or so (which will kill a 
hatchling in no time flat) or that they should be fed cat food. Cat food will 
increase the growth but you end up with more prevelant problems. 

At any rate I figure that these guys make the best example seeing as how they 
are large lizards that grow very fast and are even herbivores. Babies need lots 
of calcium and metabolic bone disease is a common ailment to them. Much like 
your deerhounds, these lizards grow faster than their bodies can keep up and 
have high calcium and protein demands. 

So I wouldn't be suprised to see a baby sauropod spending all day gorging 
itself to sustain it's growth. They might even have eaten insects on occasion, 
to satisfy the demands. 

Archosaur J

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