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Re: Resources, energetics and dinosaur maximal size
Quite the contrary. McNab does talk about the argument of sauropodan "hoovers."
So he's trying to do science without math? (What do "large", "may", "not
completely", "unlikely", "appreciably higher" and so on really mean?)
One way that herbivorous dinosaurs might have had a higher Kh [maximal daily
field expenditure] is if they swallowed their food without mastication, whereas
herbivorous mammals chew their food, which limits food intake. However, the
rapid swallowing of coarse food is unlikely to increase Kh, because the
limiting factor on food consumption then would be
the rate of fermentation in the gut, which is reduced by swallowing
unmasticated fibrous food, the time required for fermentation increasing with
food intake and body mass. Thus, the huge abdominal masses of sauropods were
undoubtedly large fermentation vats that may not have completely compensated
for the absence of buccal processing of food. So, it is unlikely that Kh was
appreciably higher for dinosaurs than for mammals, either because of greater
food abundance or because of a higher efficiency in processing food, and thus
could not account for their larger masses.
If so, I'm unfortunately still right, even though (thanks for correcting
me) for the wrong reasons.