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Re: Sauroparental care
On Thu, 25 Dec 2003, ANN SCHMIDT wrote:
> First of all, there is the depth at which the eggs are
> buried and the type of nest. Sea turtles bury their
> eggs a good foot to two feet underground in a habitat
> where once the sand is brought back, it is very hard
> to tell where the nest is. Sauropods weren't ones for
> delicate work and they didn't have beach sand to dig
Yes...also, sea turtles have the option of beaches remote from many
terrestrial predators. In places where racoons and others are predators,
most of the pre-hatching predation is done in the first day after laying,
i.e., when mostly olfactory cues are available.
> Could they really feasibly dig underground nests,
> let alone in a colony, and pack the ground down to
> where the nest was not noticeable, without crushing
> the nest or leaving the area so denuded, full of
> footprints and droppings that anything going past
> would recognize that the sauropods had been there?
> Thirdly, there is the number of eggs. The sauropod
> clutches were a few dozen at most right? Sea Turtles,
> even the small species, all lay over fifty to over two
> hundred eggs per clutch and several cluthes per season
> at that. Thus the glut of hatchlings from saurpods
> could not equal that of relatively small sea turtles.
> A bad strategy in a world where every predator large
> and small comes to wherever a glut of defenseless
> hatchlings are. Even lions will eat, or attempt to
> eat in the case of ostrich eggs, egg if there is an
Thanks mostly to grass and its ability to provide food and
concealment in a semi-arid (i.e, low predator density) environment,
ostrich nests are _very_ hard to find. Those that are found are
> It would be a simple matter for a large
> theropod to dig away at a nest and gulp down the
> massive nutrition the eggs would give in a few bites.
> Destroying surrounding vegetation could be easily
> avoided as well. Aside from fasting there is the fact
> that only a few sauropods from any herd needed to stay
> at the nest colony at any one time to protect the
> young, just like many modern days animals only leave a
> few babysitters. The rest of the herd could go off
> miles away and feed, other individuals switching out
> with the babysitters routinely.
Emus have the incredible ability to shut down metabolism and sit on the
nest for around two months w/out food or water. Perhaps sauropods both
reduced metabolism and nested near lush, highly productive forests. Who
knows? The point is, I think, that nest attendance cannot be ruled out
with such an argument.
> I doubt that baby sauropods traveled with the herd for
> many reasons.
A crop of baby sauropods moving through a predatory gauntlet of at least
three years among serious predators? My guess is that mum and dad would
offer the best protection around.
> Sea turtles these creatures were
Aye, aye, Capn!