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Herbivorous dinosaur paleobiology and dinosaur growth



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

Two papers scheduled for publication at the end of the month in the
2014 issue of Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences:

Paul M. Barrett (2014)
Paleobiology of Herbivorous Dinosaurs.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences (advance online
publication for volume 42)
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105515
http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105515


Herbivorous dinosaurs were abundant, species-rich components of Late
Triassic–Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems. Obligate high-fiber
herbivory evolved independently on several occasions within
Dinosauria, through the intermediary step of omnivory. Anatomical
character complexes associated with this diet exhibit high levels of
convergence and morphological disparity, and may have evolved by
correlated progression. Dinosaur faunas changed markedly during the
Mesozoic, from early faunas dominated by taxa with simple, uniform
feeding mechanics to Cretaceous biomes including diverse sophisticated
sympatric herbivores; the environmental and biological drivers causing
these changes remain unclear. Isotopic, taphonomic, and anatomical
evidence implies that niche partitioning reduced competition between
sympatric herbivores, via morphological differentiation, dietary
preferences, and habitat selection. Large body size in dinosaur
herbivores is associated with low plant productivity, and gave these
animals prominent roles as ecosystem engineers. Although dinosaur
herbivores lived through several major events in floral evolution,
there is currently no evidence for plant-dinosaur coevolutionary
interactions.
===

Gregory M. Erickson (2014)
On Dinosaur Growth.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 42 (volume publication
date June 2014)
http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-earth-060313-054858


Despite nearly two centuries of investigation, a comprehensive
understanding of dinosaur biology has proven intractable. The recent
development of means to study tissue-level growth, age these animals,
and make growth curves has revolutionized our knowledge of dinosaur
lives. From such data it is now understood that dinosaurs: grew both
disruptively and determinately, rarely, if ever, exceeded a century in
age, became giants through accelerated growth and dwarfed through
truncated development, were likely endothermic, sexually matured like
crocodiles, showed survivorship like large mammal populations, and
basal birds retained dinosaurian physiology.