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Dino Nesting Behaviors (was Re: Crocodilian vs Avian looks)



To Rob Gay:
 
> you run into problems when you reach smaller-
> animals, and (more improtantly), larger animals with
> smaller jaws (e.g. Dilophosaurus_, _Carnotaurus_). 
> Putting two infant _Dilophosaurus_ into the mouth of
> an adult would be a stetch. Even then, there would 
> basically only be space for their feet and some of 
> their torso, with their neck, head and tail poking 
> out on either side of momma's jaws.

Just want to let you know that i'm not stating this as
my personal belief. That said, i'll continue. Smaller
species like Dilophosaurus could probably hold one
infant in its jaws easily. The infants would not stay
in the mothers mouth permanently - just for feeding
purposes. If you postulate that animals like
Tyrannosaurs and other large carnivores regurgitate
food like a bird with the baby outside of the mouth,
you run into a few problems. 1) The hatchling is
uncoordinated and may injure itself trying to get past
the sharp teeth. 2) The mothers snout and jaws would
be too elongate for the baby to reach the food if
regurgitated. (could a tiny hatchling reach into a 5
foot long head to get its nourishment?) 3) The mother
would not regurgitate directly into the nest because
infection would set in very quickly from the
decomposing meat. So, you have to wonder how they did
it. If the baby laid still, the mother could probably
pick it up (VERY gently) like a croc does. If you were
a small dino like Compsognathus or Microraptor, you
would undoubtedly use a typical avian method of
feeding. Carnotaurus could probably fit at least one
infant in its mouth, don't you think?. As for
transport to and from kill sites. This is problematic.
By the time these guys were moving on to solid food I
would think their body sizes are considerably larger.
In the case of C. sastrei, mom might hold an infant
between her 2 cranial horns (did females have them?
who knows). Crocs and alligators often hold babies on
their back - affording some protection. Maybe some
dinosaurs also carried around their young in this way.
Large scutes on the back would give them good
foot-holds. At least some theropods had excellent
senses of balance, so I doubt a juvenile would fall
off. It's all just speculation, but the image of an
Allosaurus lowering its head into the nest, and babies
coming over to peck and nip at her jaws, begging for
food feels very real. After all, most everything in
paleontology is speculation and educated guesses
anyway.  

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