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Re: Segregated vs age-mixed sauropod herds

--- On Sun, 3/14/10, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. <tholtz@umd.edu> wrote:

> > I responded that while the parents were likely hanging
> around, they
> > had strict genetic rules that said: under no
> circumstances enter the
> > nest-ground proper...the risk of crushing babies being
> the strongest
> > selective pressure here.
> >
> > The students said that was pretty stupid...that they
> could have leaned
> > over with their long necks and bitten the snakes.
> Let's not forget, snakes are MAJOR predators of baby birds
> today, even for
> species with biparental care.
> Parental care =/= total immunity of the babies from all
> attacks!!


However, given the very small size of the eggs/hatchlings, and the reports of 
adult footprints well over a meter in diameter, I would think accidental 
crushing would be a factor arguing for physical separation of adult/nest and 
adult/offspring in the early stages. Immobile nests would require only a short 
distance, but squirmy little rug-pods might need more space.

One could even speculate w/ some plausibility that the necessity for 
nest-building and tending was a constraint on head-size in the quadrupeds, 
given proof of nest-tending, IMO. It is hard to envision covering a fragile 
clutch or rolling eggs w/ those gargantuan feet; or even a really big head...