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Re: late night thoughts: misunderstand what?

don ohmes writes:

One kill per 3 days? Well, maybe. That's a lot of meat, though. If that is a reasonable budget, that points up the advantages of a group life-style for utilizing large units of food. Seems a little high, to me.

Having enough food to last a week, and *keeping* it can be two different things. Even if you can fend off all those other scavengers that want their share, after a few days you'd have to be able to stomach meat that's somewhat less than fresh. If you've got the constitution of a Komodo monitor or a vulture then there'd be no problem though.

The bottom line(s)-- 1). I still think the big sauropods were easy prey for tall bipeds w/ powerful jaws, if and only if, those jaws could be wrapped around the neck, preferably at or close to the head.

If sauropods took a long time to reach adult size (and I'm guessing they probably did) then a predator wouldn't have to attack fully grown adults. Juveniles would still make considerable meals.

I'm sure an unusually big pride of lions could eventually take down an adult elephant - but the amount of energy required to do so per individual, multiplied by the energy requirements to feed such a large pride, coupled with the huge risk, probably means it's simply not worth it. Picking off the occasional straggling juvenile is a safer and less risky option.

2). The peculiar vulnerability of the sauropod physique was the reason they went so overboard on size (trying to keep those necks out of reach).

I suspect a well-aimed bite by a tyrannosaur could possibly have incapacitated an adult sauropod. HOWEVER - sauropods are unlikely to have coorperated by standing nice and still to allow for such a well-aimed bite. I'm not sure how stealthy a multi-tonne tyrannosaur could have been, but I'm guessing most saurpods would have known about them long before the predator was within striking range, and taken appropriate counter measures (ie. diplodocids probably 'turned the other cheek' to put a swinging tail between the predator and their own 'vulnerable' heads).

If they lived in large groups then you'd have to contend with other sauropods as well. More eyes and ears makes getting into a less-risky killing position even harder. It would probably have been a better option to pick on lone juveniles or injured animals that couldn't keep up with the herd (tiring them out first before trying for a killing bite).


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://heretichides.soffiles.com