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Re: The birds vs. the pterosaurs



Larry Febo wrote:
> 
> 
> I  previously stated that what sustained small mammals and birds were the
> insects that were feeding off of dead plant matter. Even the dead plant
> matter would have run out eventually. I therefor think that several years
> without photosynthetic activity would surely have wiped out
> EVERYTHING!....and clearly that was not the case.

Not all the plants would have died. Those living in polar environments
would have been used to going several months with complete darkness.
Other species elsewhere could also have become dormant. Insects
themselves can sustain an ecosystem for quite some time without the need
for plants. Insects and spiders were the first animals to re-colonise Mt
St.Helens, and developed a purely carnivorous mini-ecosystem in the area
long before plants began to grow back. Besides, it would take more than
"several years" for all the existing plant matter in the world to be
consumed (especially since if conditions were colder than normal,
bacterial and fungal activity would probably have been reduced, slowing
decay).

Complex life managed to survive in the deep oceans without
photosynthesis as the base of the ecosystem. Living creatures anywhere
are extremely adaptable - every living thing today represents an
unbroken line of descent from the first uni-cellular organisms spanning
billions of years, thus your house cat or a potted plant or anything you
can find that is alive is really the pinacle of evolutionary success. If
there is a way to survive any situation, at least some life forms would
have found it, regardless of how severe we judge the conditions to have
been.


-- 
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Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS Archaeologist           http://dannsdinosaurs.terrashare.com
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/
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