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sauropod behaviour speculations



While elephants receive much attention re:
infrasonics, and giraffe for cardiovascular systems
enabling blood to reach up an elongate neck -- both
used for various inferences re: sauropods...there is
another taxon, poorly known, which is proving to be a
source of keen interest for anyone interested in
sauropods who may have spent much time near lakes and
lagoons. I say may: many probably migrated, following
river courses, etc., as such oases were food sources.
The taxon is Hippopotamus amphibius. (The "pygmy"
taxon, Choeropsis liberiensis, should be synonymized
into Hippopotamus.) The larger animal eats like a lawn
mower (as waddling ankylosaurs may have done), both
taxa spending most of their time foraging/grazing on
land, rarely consuming lake/river plants. Hans Klingel
-- who, over the years, has shared papers with me, and
from whom I am drawing my overview -- has "unlocked",
as it were, insights into their social behaviour.
Now Rebecca Lewison is updating and adding to the
research base, with her 2002 dissertation 'Spatially
explicit behavioral models, foraging behavior, and
population dynamics of the common hippopotamus
(Hippopotamus amphibius)', Univ. California Davis,
99pp
(UMI # 3051541). In 1998, she published a fascinating
paper 'Infanticide in the hippopotamus: evidence for
polygynous ungulates', Ethology Ecology & Evolution
10(3):277-286.
Both investigations should be studied with care and
open-mindedness, as I believe (contra the opinions of
some) that ungulates might provide one with
interesting ecological templates which might, just
might, give one an inferred glimpse, a possible
interpolative framework, of how small sauropod taxa
may have been behaving near lakes and rivers.
A thought for the new year.

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