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Re: Dinosaurs burrowed to keep warm

Chances are that some small dinos went down burrows to get a meal. I understand that some of the Cretaceous mammals were badger sized,(big hole) had helpless babies and no doubt some of the burrows were big enough to raid when mom was gone. Some young toothy fellow with an attitude might have wandered right down the tunnel to get a tasty morsel. I just don't see burrows as being a life style choice by most bi-pedal dinos. Ornithopods also had such a stiff tail. This would not be a handy thing for burrowing nor would the tendency toward walking on two legs. Semi-quadrupedal stances are not the best adaptation for underground movement either. I suspect that the number of quadruped species that burrows far exceeds the number of semi-quadrupedal or bipedal types. Piles of bones down burrows might just be the result of not being able to get turned around and ending up there for eternity. They come in, but they don't come out.

Just after the Cretaceous bolide(s?), omnivores and meat eaters had each other to munch on let alone the overabundance of carcass for a few years as larger animals died off over time. Many mammals probably had set aside a good supply of food for hard times. (Just last night we took a 20 foot long piece of 2x4 steel tube stock off the bottom steel rack and it had nearly 10 pounds of cat food inside from a mouse stockpiling out of our cat's dish located in our livestock barn) The little fellow must have worked for months going back and forth and literally had enough reserve for years. Time to get better cats (or stop feeding them as much) I guess but this illustrates very well the mammalian instinct to save up for hard times. This may have been instrumental in the general survival of some types through the crisis.

Any dedicated plant eater would have had a hard time of it. A heat pulse followed by prolonged cold and acid pH is not conductive to plant growth. Many specialized carnivores that relied on specific prey would also have a hard time. Opportunistic scavengers would have held on a bit longer. Remember that the food chain would have been disrupted from top to bottom. Many water habituated species did well (ie crocs) because of the protection afforded by bodies of water from the initial fire storm. Acid rain was just insult to injury to anything that survived the conflagration. It could be argued that different species went extinct from different causes potentially unique (certainly in combinations) to that specific species.

Frank (Rooster) Bliss
MS Biostratigraphy
Weston, Wyoming

On Mar 23, 2007, at 6:33 AM, David Marjanovic wrote:

(Deliberately to the list this time.)

----- Original Message -----
From: "paul sparks" <pwsparks38@yahoo.com>
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 1:05 PM

It occured to me that at least some folks think that one reason that mammals made it thru the K/T event was that they burrowed and were kept free of the fires, etc that would be part of the astroid collision. It was thus assumed that dinos did not have this activity. Yet here we are commenting of just this activity.
p sparks

Burrowing certainly helped, but it certainly wasn't enough. Ornithopods look like they depended on green plant parts and were not able to subsist on seeds and the like. When fire, acid rain, and whatnot have killed all green plant parts, we expect the ornithopods to die out.