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Re: Vulture warm up
Even if they are using the sun to warm up, that doesn't necessarily
imply they're incapable of warming up on their own. I've personally
observed ring-tailed lemurs doing much the same thing, sitting on
their haunches and spreading their arms (forelegs?) to expose their
chests to the rising sun.
Any heat you can absorb from the environment is heat you don't have to
burn energy to produce (e.g., by shivering), and that's as true for
endotherms as for ectotherms.
Here are some very nifty pix taken very recently by a friend of a friend
in Fort Collins, Colorado.
They were taken in the morning, so can we assume the birds had their wings
spread to warm up? If this is so, what does it say about a vulture's
ability to regulate its body temp? (I don't think many other types of
birds engage in this behavior.) Does this behavior (the urge -- or need --
to warm up in the sun) say anything about your typical Mesozoic theropod?
Or are vultures a special case due to their scavenging habits (especially
low metabolism, maybe???)?
-- Donna Braginetz