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Re: Respiratory Conchae

On Thu, 01 Feb 2001 23:09:05  
 Scott Hartman wrote:
>One other point that needs to be raised about RT research:  We really are 
>not sure how strong the correlation between RTs and endothermy should be in 
>non-mammals.  RTs are all about water conservation, and while water 
>conservation is obviously important to all animals, it is particularily 
>important in mammals.  I'm sure most of the listers already know about the 
>uric acid vs. urea dicotomy, so rather than pissing into the wind (sorry, 
>couldn't resist) on that subject, I'll point out the results:  Birds, often 
>one with substantially higher BMRs than eutherian mammals, usually have much 
>smaller and simpler RTs than said mammals.  Despite this rather obvious fact 
>(you can see examples in many papers by Ruben et al.), no one has bothered 
>to test the effect of RT loss or damage on avians.  As a result we can't 
>quantify the importance of RTs in non-mammals.  We don't even know how RT 
>surface area scales (if it does) animal mass.  We don't really know piss 
>about RTs in the larger evolutionary view.
>    RTs may be important in non-mammals, since it appears that many 
>dinosaurs may have had attachments for RTs or their equivalents.  But how 
>important, no one can really say for now.

An interesting area for somebody to study, indeed.  And, like the polling 
situation I posted on earlier, a very good area for somebody to get into...

Anyway, for all of this discussion about HP Leahy's chapter in the Scientific 
American book, it was pointed out to me by another listmember that Ruben et 
al.'s papers are the only peer-reviewed ones that deal with RTs in dinosaurs.  
Although other hypotheses/ideas exist, nobody has managed to get their ideas 
peer-reviewed.  Hopefully Leahy or his colleagues will in the near future.

Of course, just because a paper is peer reviewed does not mean that is is 
necessarily right, and just because it isn't peer reviewed does not mean that 
it is necessarily wrong.  However, until somebody authors a peer reviewed paper 
on RTs in dinosaurs (such as ceratopsians, anklyosaurids, and even some of the 
theropods that we have been discussing), Ruben et al.'s papers are the only 
ones out there.


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