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Re: dinosaur digestion



     Herbivorous birds usually have less efficient digestion than mammals, they lack the specialized gut adaptations of many mammals, e.g. ruminants. They excrete less waste at any one time than a similarly sized mammal, but I think it would be more in total over a time period. I think many herbivorous birds do have caeca though (blind ending intestinal pouches with symbiotic bacteria/protists) to help them digest cellulose more efficiently, probably also possessed by sauropods, and they grind it up thoroughly in their gizzards. Sauropods definitely had these (evidence from gastroliths). Most modern herbivorous birds rely more on rate of processing of food through the gut than efficiency of digestion (this is why goose shit is still green with chlorophyll). Dung eating to reprocess semi digested food has always seemed a possibility for sauropods for me..., although I think the urates would have to be moderately separate from the fecal mass for this to be practicable (does it matter if an animal eats its own excreted urates?).
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2001 9:53 PM
Subject: Re: dinosaur digestion

Greetings,
I was reading The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs yesterday, particularly the illustration demonstrating the size difference between an Argentinosaurus baby and an adult. The caption points out that full adult size was achieved in only a few decades. I also recall reading about how some researchers are puzzled over the ability of the environment to support such large plant eaters(especially if they were warm blooded). Could it be possible that dinosaurs were able to digest their food more efficently than mammals? Could dinosaurs possibly have converted more of what they ate into body tissue and excrete less waste than mammals?
Although I've never really investigated animal waste to a great degree(insert sick joke here), it seems that birds excrete less waste than mammals of similar size. Has any research been done in this area? Or has this possiblity already been ruled out?
Thanks to whoever responds.
                                                                  Brian Buck
"Just for the record, thirty years ago they never found any corpse..."
Raymond Burr: Godzilla 1985