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basal metabolism

> if this variation in growth rate did > happen, 
> one practical advantage could be a reduced effective basal 
> metabolism, 
> thus (perhaps) requiring less food? 

Something similar to this happens in mammals and birds today.  A period of
rapid growth followed by an adulthood where metabolic requirements are
proportionately less.  This should not be viewed as an indication that adult
dinosaurs were "less warm-blooded" than the young unless the same can be
said for elephants, egrets, and _Mus_.