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Re: cause of Gigantism in sauropods



2011/2/9 Habib, Michael <MHabib@chatham.edu>:
> Personally, I don't understand the insistence that theropods must have been 
> attacking prey many times their own size, risking death in the process, when 
> evidence suggests that there was a huge biomass of smaller available prey 
> (especially juveniles) available for consumption.

I also believe theropods mostly ate small prey, including juveniles of
larger herbivorous dinosaurs, following the paper by Hone and Rauhut
(2010). It may better deal with the perils of getting the head crushed
as you say, or fall when running after adults, or facing armored and
probably dangerous prey, as many common larger ornithischians. But, as
far as I remember, they said predation of juveniles explains the
scarce preservation of dinosaur juveniles. In such a case... what is
the evidence supporting the viewpoint there were so many juveniles? I
think that inferred precocial R-stategies may be some indirect
evidence, and also sustaining a population of large theropods which
cannot rely on larger stuff, but arguing this would be circular
assuming we suppose theropods hunted small juveniles because of their
abundance).

Cheers.

Reference:
Hone, D. W. E. and Rauhut, O. W. M. (2010), Feeding behaviour and bone
utilization by theropod dinosaurs. Lethaia, 43: 232–244.