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Re: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Gingko berries as evidence of dino sense of smell?
>>>When you paleoZOOLOGISTS start speculating about plants, you always get in
>trouble (e.g., Bakker). You may remember that Gingkos are gymnosperms,
>thus do not have "fruits". The fleshy tissue surrounding Ginkgo seeds is
>simply a fleshy integument, or seed coat, not a swollen ovary as in the
>true fruits of angiosperms. [Note, though, that the Ginkgo seed does give
>plant systematists much to ponder in the evolution of the Anthophyta.] As
>far as its smell being an attractant for a dispersal agent, the Ginkgo
>fragrance of rotting flesh would only attract those animals who are
>scavengers. Are there many dinosaurs known to be scavengers?<<
If the fruit could only be spread by scavengers, then I doubt it was a
vertebrate. I've heard of flies being attracted to and pollinating flowers that
smell like carrion, but I've _never_ heard of scavengers being attracted to
nasty-smelling fruit. Think of a vulture trying to eat ginkgo seeds. I think
that there was (perhaps still is, in China, somewhere) some symbiotic organism
that we don't know about that does the fruit dispersing. Maybe it was the
extinction of this symbiotic organism a few thousand years ago that caused the
ginkgo to go extinct in the wild.
I like the soil microbe idea much better than scavengers as fruit-eaters.