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Re: Sauropterygian falls?



Well, a recent paper by the late Elizabeth Nicholls gives an estimate of the
largest _Shonisaurus_ species, to have been 23 meters long (which by my
recollection of the specimen itself, is possibly a conservative estimate),
and there have been vertebral centra which were much larger than the ones
found at that particular _Shonisaurus_ site.

It is interesting though, that you mention what sort of microcommunities
would have been surrounding an Ichthyosaur fall. At the Sikanni Chief River
site in Northern B.C., where the massive _Shonisaurus_ specimen was
unearthed, the amount of bivalves found in association with the specimen
were significantly larger than the concentration of bivalves in that strata
nearby.

So we have at least one example (and undoubtedly more) of Ichthyosaur fall
sites housing a microcommunity.

- Daniel Arndt
Undergraduate, Natural Sciences
University of Calgary
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Williams" <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 9:36 AM
Subject: 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
>
>
>