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Re: Gastric stones of dinosaurs were not for milling food !
> of the reasons listed by other people here. Wings
> takes a testable and objective approach to the
> gastromyth, and
> fairly concludes based on his data that a gastric
> mill is untenable in sauropods. It was
> a nice idea sure, but it doesn't work, sorry.
Gut fermentation is an alternative way to do the job.
Not known in modern birds IIRC (the hoatzin uses crop
formation, which is a nice all-around adaptation too
since it makes that bird smell bad), but how many
specialized folivores are there among modern birds
The reason why modern birds have gastric stones,
basically, cannot apply to sauropods. Seed-eating
theropods (was there such a thing?), maybe. But
folivores generally do not use gastric mills. Equids
are non-ruminant folivores which do not chew their
food that much, even though it's possibly tougher
(more silica) that the usual food of sauropods.
Basically, the supposed reasons for sauropods having a
gastric mill are non-existant.
To dwell on that idea a bit more, IIRC there are no
internal organs of sauropods known to any worthwhile
extent, and it is easy to assume why: such a large
corpse, even if embedding conditions are right, would
decompose too quickly to leave any meaningful remains.
In any case, since nothing seems to be known about
sauropod alimentary tract anatomy and not much can be
inferred even, it would be interesting to do some
quick-n-dirty calculations on a) how large their gut
could have been, and b) how much heat would be
generated by using that space as a fermentation
chamber, and c) whether that would be sufficient to
influence their body temperature to a noticeable
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