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

SAUROPODS & CONIFERS



Matt Bonnan responded to my musings over sauropod tooth wear and what 
it might tell us about the ecology of these animals. Good points 
Matt, I fully agree. And I didn't mean to emphasise in my post that 
diplodocids were _necessarily_ feeding from a source way up off the 
ground.

I can't disagree with any of your points, but WRT to your point 
that....
 
> Conifer needles are not very nutritious.  I am not aware of too
> many things that eat them.  There is a vole and a flying squirrel I 
> am aware of, but does anyone on this list know of a large vertebrate 
> that eats conifers?  And of course, since it would probably be a 
> mammal, it might not help us much anyways.

There is something in conifers that mammals cannot digest, but that 
birds can and do. I can't recall the details and will have to chase 
it up (if anyone has Greg Paul's _Modern Geology_ paper 'The Many 
Myths, Some Old, Some New, of Dinosaurology', check it out, as it 
might be in there). I understand that conifer-eating dinosaurs 
could have been a likelihood, whereas conifer-eating mammals are 
essentially a no-no. Can anyone provide further details? It is 
something to do with chemical toxins secreted by conifers and the 
metabolic pathways of the animals that eat them.

To address Matt's question, there is no large extant vertebrate that 
eats conifers. Some passerines (crossbills (_Loxia_)) eat nothing but 
conifer seeds.

BTW, if large dinosaurs could get by on conifers and nothing else, 
this explains Dougal Dixon's pinecone-eating ornithopod:)

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk