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RE: Sauropterygian falls?



Renatos Santos wrote:

Perhaps off topic but I can't help wonder what animals would constitute this type of communities in the Mesozoic as there were sauropterygians and ichthyosaurs in those days.

(Thanks for the link to a very interesting article.)

My understanding of this stuff (which is reinforced by the Nature article) is that whale carcasses provide the foundation of a unique ecosystem due to the sheer size and 'fattiness' of the beasts.

As the article says: "Worms, clams and mussels, to name but a few, all take up residence, each getting their metabolic fix from the chemical energy provided by the fat-rich marrow in whale bones. Such complex communities have not been reported on the bones of other marine mammals, says Craig Smith, a whale-fall expert from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This is probably because whale bones are so much larger and fat-rich, he says."