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Re: New Papers in Manhattan

Abstract: "Sauropod dinosaurs, the dominant herbivores throughout the Jurassic, challenge general rules of large vertebrate herbivory. With body weights surpassing those of any other megaherbivore, they relied almost exclusively on pre-angiosperm plants such as gymnosperms, ferns and fern allies as food sources, plant groups that are generally believed to be of very low nutritional quality. However, the nutritive value of these taxa is virtually unknown

LOL! Yet another case where people have simply believed something for generations without ever testing it! :-D I wonder how many more such assumptions there are out there.

"The worst math is no math at all."
-- Mark Chu-Carroll http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath

Using a feed evaluation test for extant herbivores, we show that the energy content of horsetails and of certain conifers and ferns is at a level comparable to extant browse.


Based on our experimental results, plants such as _Equisetum_, _Araucaria_, _Ginkgo_ and _Angiopteris_ would have formed a major part of sauropod diets, while cycads, tree ferns and podocarp conifers would have been poor sources of energy. Energy-rich but slow-fermenting _Araucaria_, which was globally distributed in the Jurassic, was probably targeted by giant, high-browsing sauropods with their presumably very long ingesta retention times.

Makes a lot of sense...

The morphological basis of the arm-to-wing transition. J. Hand Surg.

<Spock voice>Fascinating.</Spock voice>