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Re: dinosaur digestion

On Wed, Nov 14, 2001 at 11:09:26PM -0600, Demetrios M Vital scripsit:
> Bakker has a lot to say about sauropod digestion in the _Dinosaur
> Heresies_, but I'm not sure how up-to-date that is.  Either way, in
> it, he professes that the gizzard digestive system is actually more
> efficient than the mammal/ruminant system.  
> I really don't know if that's true, though, as HP Mellor completely
> contradicted that in another post tonight.

Careful; we know that geese aren't all that efficent at digesting grass.

On the other hand, the Ag Research folks at the University of Guelph
have produced 60+ pound turkeys -- I think the record is nearly 80 -- on
a hundred pounds of feed.  (This doesn't start from hatching, though,
but from (IIRC) fledging.)  That's a very efficent digestive system.
(It's not being fed grass, it's being fed concentrated food in the form
of mostly grain, but the proportion of utilization is still very high
compared to cattle.)

Keep in mind that all modern birds are descended relatively recently
from meat eaters, and indeed _long adapted_ meat eaters; we don't know
from that anything about how sauropods and ornithsichians -- who had a
long evolutionary history as herbivores -- fared in terms of digestive

               To maintain the end is to uphold the means.