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Re: Fern forests



Many ferns have an edge over other understory plants in that they can
tolerate shade.  Indeed, many other shrubs provide very good concealment
below some size.  But if you place some shrubs around the World Trade
Center it will not disappear. A non-avian dinosaur intent on hiding its
nest in a fern forest must contend with two synergistic factors: a big
thing is easier to find, and a forest supports, or is capable of
supporting, a high density of predators.

Add to this the likelihood that a forest would be less than ideal if a big
thing is trying to defend a nest--i.e., it keeps knocking its head against
trees--then you have some _a priori_ reasons why big animals are unlikely
to nest in a forest.  They probably _did_ browse/hunt in forests.  But the
imperative of 2 months of stationary  attendance (assuming they did
attend nests) wouod not lend itself to a forest habitat.  What you need is
a grass analogue--something that can withstand alot of browsing, something
that traps large amounts of moisture instantly, something that does not
require moisture to fertilize.  I'm not sure such a plant existed in the
Cretaceous.  If true, this makes it all the more likely that most 
(big) non-avian dinosaurs were analagous to crocs in obligatory nest
defense.


On Thu, 15 Jun 2000, Martin Human wrote:

> I believe large parts of New Zealand have fern-rich forests in which many a
> secretive dinsaur might hide...
> 
> cheeers, martin
>