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RE: Sauropterygian falls?



Rodlox R wrote:

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.

well, in that case, what insulation method would ichthyosaurs (et al marine archosaurs*) use?

I don't really know. Then again, I'm not really 'up' on ichthyosaur biology. I have the impression that 'whale falls' are especially bountiful due to the impressive size of the carcasses (30 to over 100 tonnes for the largest whales) combined with the nutrient-rich marrow inside the bones. I know some ichthyosaurs were certainly very large: I've seen estimates of 40 tonnes for _Shonisaurus_, and there is evidence for ichthyosaurs that were even bigger. However, it's hard to know how an 'ichthyosaur fall' would have compared to a 'whale fall' considering that the latter is a mammal and the former is not.




Tim