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Re: (arthritic) Sauropods vs. Gravity - all



"T. Mike Keesey" wrote:
> 
> A quick search for facts on the web shows that the gestation period of
> large whales is actually about *half* that of elephants (about a year as
> opposed to nearly 2 years for the elephants). Exactly how strong is the
> relationship between size and gestation period? Are whales exempt from the
> usual rules somehow? (By being aquatic? How would that matter?)
> 

For a start, whales live in a much more energy rich environment (people
talk of rain forests being the "lungs of the earth", but oceanic
phytoplankton produces most of the worlds oxygen). Small babies can grow
quickly on rich milk (whale calves grow at a phenominal rate).

Secondly, having near neutral bouyancy means you can store much more fat
than a terrestrial animal can. I suspect animals can also grow faster in
water since their bones do not have to adapt to the changes in mass
(St.Bernard pups can have bone problems if they are fed too much and
grow too fast). A pregnant whale can also put on mass quickly without
hindering its movement.

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