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Re: cause of Gigantism in sauropods
On 2/12/2011 4:20 PM, David Marjanovic wrote:
There's a reason why the hypothesis that sauropods 1) lived in swamps
and 2) theropods weren't able to go there was abandoned in the late
1970s, some 35 years ago.
Yes, I remember the '70's.
3 comments -- 1) The thesis I advance does not include any statements
implying or indicating that "theropods were not able to go in swamps".
Sorry about that!
I state that theropods attacking sauropods in swamps were total toast in
the tactical sense.
2) The idea that one simply divides weight by foot area (or implied foot
area) and magically creates an index that universally determines the
ability to traverse a given piece of soft ground is extremely
simplistic, w/ all due respect. I will expand later.
3) I also label as simplistic the notion that the giant sauropods either
needed to, or had the option of evolving webs or other "aquatic
adaptions" on their feet -- it really does not matter what their real
range of habitat utilization was.
Logically, they had no choice but to retain terrestrial competence
generally -- apparently all the dinosaurs needed to nest on dry
substrate, including the giants. Also, the fact is that most swampland
periodically dries up (or would get grazed out), therefore mandating
considerable overland trekking ability under any scenario.
Given their size, it follows that low variability in foot morphology
would be present in all the various scenarios of habitat utilization.
The notion that they went through swamps rather than around them, and
loitered therein whenever it suited them, is NOT falsified by their feet.
Lastly -- much as I hate it, I am necessarily going "otherwhere" for a
while, especially relative to time spent posting. I will reply at
greater length in a week or three.