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Re: Why did small dinos become extinct?
David Marjanovic, thanks for the info about the size of Compsognathus!
David Marjanovic wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Scanlon" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2007 3:30 AM
Philip Chalmers wrote:
Despite the thoroughness of David Marjanovic's response
Sorry that I haven't provided one more; I've had little time lately.
Might I humbly point to the success of squamates in the small
predator niches? Varanoids and snakes commonly reach larger body
Compsognathus et al., are well equipped for gobbling granivores and
insectivores but need much less energy than similar-sized mammals (or
probably dinosaurs), and they were more or less global in
the end of the Cretaceous after only starting to show up in the
This is a very good point. The terrestrial crocodiles of Outer
Gondwana are also all Cretaceous (and, in South America, younger) in
age; Asia had another clade of (much smaller) terrestrial crocs all
the way to the Maastrichtian.
Furthermore, *Compsognathus* wasn't _so_ small. The famous 60-cm-long
specimen is a juvenile. The other specimen, which is adult, was 1.4 m
long. This comes close to the smallest flightless theropod of the Hell
Creek Formation, *Dromaeosaurus* (1.8 m), and is surpassed by several
Campanian and Maastrichtian gila-monsters-playing-Komodo-monitor like
*Estesia* and *Palaeosaniwa* ( ~ 3 m).
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