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flying dinosaurs & other fractalizations
Papers are accessible, allowing one to speculate re:
the ecomorphologies of the Microraptor &co. theropods,
and pterosaurs, as pollinators and seed dispersers in
end Cretaceous environments:
Nina R. Ingle
2001 Seed dispersal in Philippine montane rainforest
and successional vegetation: role of birds, bats, and
wind. Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University, 136pp
This fascinating array of field data is now:
2003 Seed dispersal by wind, birds, and bats between
Philippine rainforest and successional vegetation.
Another paper of interest:
R.A. Schneider & J.A. Helms, 2003. The cellular and
molecular origins of beak morphology. Science
Nina Ingle's research reveals that montane rainforest
vertebrates dispersed more seeds than wind, and that
frugivorous theropods dispersed more seeds than bats.
This has interesting applicability to ongoing thought
experiments re: end-Cretaceous theropod/pterosaur and
end-Cretaceous/Cenozoic theropod/bat competitions for
food, and how, in the Hell Creek region, e.g., forests
expanded and/or rejuvenated themselves. In Neotropical
forests as in Asia, as Nina Ingle notes, theropods,
not bats, are the primary seed dispersers. In Asia,
more bats and theropods are frugivores than in then
Neotropics, and Asian bats cannot echolocate. Another
point she makes is that Asian plant seeds are far
larger than in the Neotropics. Some scholars have
speculated that, perhaps, Asian seeds are too large
for many bats, but, in both Asia and the Neotropics,
it appears colour, fruit type, and fruit length are
the determining factors not seed sizes. In the main,
arillate seeds are preferred by frugivorous theropods,
although fruit bats in other areas also consume
Theaceae and disperse their seeds.
She also makes some other interesting observations for
our thought experiments. Large fruits have large seeds
and are usually not swallowed whole by either bats or
theropods because of constraints of gape width, but
bats and theropods, of course, feed on them, and these
plants do possess seeds small enough to be ingested by
these small taxa, although most taxa spit out or
regurgitate seeds that cannot be processed.
Seed dispersal is a fundamental factor in the health
of forests, and large fruit produce fewer seeds than
do smaller fruit. At present, a seed swallowed by a
theropod or bat will be deposited ca. 100 m from the
fruiting trees, while wind dispersed seeds are within
40 m of forest trees. These are small, woody plants.
Larger fruit is usually consumed by hornbill
Perhaps, in time, with growth ranges determined of the
theropods, compared with fossil plants and seeds,
there will be the possibility of ascertaining the role
of frugivory in their forests.
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