Navigation Links
Was the sauropod dinosaurs' large size due to plant food? Scientists argue old idea still has legs
Date:12/11/2012

The long necked sauropod dinosaurs were the largest land animals ever to walk the Earth but why were they so large? A decade ago a team of plant ecologists from South Africa suggested that this was due to the nature of the plant food they ate, however these ideas have fallen out of favour with many dinosaur researchers. Now Liverpool John Moores University's (LJMU's) Dr David Wilkinson and Professor Graeme Ruxton of University of St Andrews, Scotland, argue that this idea still has legs.

The results have been published in the journal Functional Ecology published by the British Ecological Society this month. They suggest that this mistake happened because some scientists confused two different issues in thinking about this problem; namely how much energy is in the plant with how much nitrogen is in the plant the South African ideas were based on nitrogen content not the total energy in the plant food.

Dr Wilkinson and Professor Ruxton now argue that this South African idea about long necked sauropod dinosaurs being large based on the nature of the plant food they ate, is still a contender for explaining their size. As well as arguing that these ideas have been prematurely discarded the new work goes on the further develop this theory.

Dr David M Wilkinson who is an ecologist from the LJMU School of Natural Sciences and Psychology explains: "This new study makes a first attempt to calculate in more detail the implications of this idea. It suggests that it may have been to the advantage of young sauropods trying to get enough nitrogen to have a metabolism rather like modern mammals, but that this would have been impossible for the adults because of the danger of such large animals overheating from all the heat that such a metabolism would have produced."

"Alternatively - or in addition - it would also have been potentially beneficial for the young to be carnivorous, as this would also have helped them access more nitrogen. The large adults plausibly used their size to help process large amounts of plant food to access enough scarce nitrogen, as suggested in the original 2002 study. However this would potentially have caused them to have to take in more energy than they needed. A mammal (and possibly also small sauropods) would get rid of this surplus as heat, but this would not be possible for a really large dinosaur. Potentially they may have laid down fat reserves instead. So one can even speculate that they may have had humps of fat rather like modern-day camels."


'/>"/>

Contact: Clare Doran
c.n.doran@ljmu.ac.uk
512-313-004
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Duck-billed dinosaurs endured long, dark polar winters
2. Jurassic pain: Giant flea-like insects plagued dinosaurs 165 million years ago
3. Gaseous emissions from dinosaurs may have warmed prehistoric earth
4. Dinosaurs were warm-blooded reptiles
5. Fossil egg discovered in Lleida (Spain) links dinosaurs to modern birds
6. Engineering technology reveals eating habits of giant dinosaurs
7. Were dinosaurs destined to be big? Testing Copes rule
8. New evidence of dinosaurs role in the evolution of bird flight
9. Building the European Unions Natura 2000 -- the largest ever network of protected areas
10. Interventional radiology: Potential breakthrough to treat mens enlarged prostate
11. Size matters: Large Marine Protected Areas work for dolphins
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , ... the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was ... 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings ... flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is ...
(Date:4/15/2016)...  A new partnership announced today will help ... in a fraction of the time it takes ... life insurance policies to consumers without requiring inconvenient ... Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) and ... weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available at ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016   ... ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited ... of its soon to be launched online site for ... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide potential shareholders a ... DNA technology to an industry that is notorious for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software ... State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , ... Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ... 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published recently ... peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz ... of cancer care is placing an increasing burden ... expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on many ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... new line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC ... in Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: