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Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism.

Sander PM, Christian A, Clauss M, Fechner R, Gee CT, Griebeler EM, Gunga HC, Hummel J, Mallison H, Perry SF, Preuschoft H, Rauhut OW, Remes K, Tütken T, Wings O, Witzel U - Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc (2011)

Bottom Line: Scaling relationships between gastrointestinal tract size and basal metabolic rate (BMR) suggest that sauropods compensated for the lack of particle reduction with long retention times, even at high uptake rates.The extensive pneumatization of the axial skeleton resulted from the evolution of an avian-style respiratory system, presumably at the base of Saurischia.An avian-style respiratory system would also have lowered the cost of breathing, reduced specific gravity, and may have been important in removing excess body heat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Steinmann Institute, University of Bonn, Germany. martin.sander@uni-bonn.de

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The largest representatives of different terrestrial vertebrate clades, both extant and extinct. (A) Non-dinosaurian terrestrial vertebrates and birds: (a) the tortoise Geochelone gigantea, (b) the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, (c) the Pleistocene Australian monitor † Varanus (Megalania) prisca, (d) the Eocene boid snake † Titanoboa cerrejonensis, (e) Homo sapiens, (f) the African elephant Loxodonta africana, (g) the long-necked Oligocene rhinoceros † Paraceratherium (Indricotherium) transouralicum, (h) Struthio camelus, (i) an unnamed Miocene † Phorusracidae. (B) non-avian dinosaurs: (a) the hadrodaur † Shantungosaurus giganteus, (b) the ceratopsian † Triceratops horridus, (c) the theropod †Tyrannosaurus rex, (d) the theropod † Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, (e) the sauropod † Brachiosaurus brancai, (f) the sauropod †Argentinosaurus huinculensis. Scale = 5 m.
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fig01: The largest representatives of different terrestrial vertebrate clades, both extant and extinct. (A) Non-dinosaurian terrestrial vertebrates and birds: (a) the tortoise Geochelone gigantea, (b) the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, (c) the Pleistocene Australian monitor † Varanus (Megalania) prisca, (d) the Eocene boid snake † Titanoboa cerrejonensis, (e) Homo sapiens, (f) the African elephant Loxodonta africana, (g) the long-necked Oligocene rhinoceros † Paraceratherium (Indricotherium) transouralicum, (h) Struthio camelus, (i) an unnamed Miocene † Phorusracidae. (B) non-avian dinosaurs: (a) the hadrodaur † Shantungosaurus giganteus, (b) the ceratopsian † Triceratops horridus, (c) the theropod †Tyrannosaurus rex, (d) the theropod † Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, (e) the sauropod † Brachiosaurus brancai, (f) the sauropod †Argentinosaurus huinculensis. Scale = 5 m.

Mentions: Body size is one of the most fundamental attributes of any organism (Hunt & Roy, 2005; Bonner, 2006). While some body size maxima (and minima) can be observed and studied directly in living organisms (e.g. the largest trees and the largest marine vertebrates), others have occurred in the geologic past. These must be studied from the fossil record, e.g. the largest insects (giant dragonflies of the Carboniferous), the largest terrestrial predators (theropod dinosaurs), and the largest terrestrial animals ever, the sauropod dinosaurs (Fig. 1). Their uniquely gigantic body size commands special interest from an evolutionary perspective. Sauropod dinosaurs represent a hugely successful radiation of herbivores that originated in the Late Triassic, dominated terrestrial ecosystems in the Jurassic, and flourished until the very end of the Cretaceous (Curry Rogers & Wilson, 2005; Tidwell & Carpenter, 2005). The aim of this paper is to review the evolution of gigantism in sauropod dinosaurs and to discuss and explore hypotheses explaining their unique body size.


Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism.

Sander PM, Christian A, Clauss M, Fechner R, Gee CT, Griebeler EM, Gunga HC, Hummel J, Mallison H, Perry SF, Preuschoft H, Rauhut OW, Remes K, Tütken T, Wings O, Witzel U - Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc (2011)

The largest representatives of different terrestrial vertebrate clades, both extant and extinct. (A) Non-dinosaurian terrestrial vertebrates and birds: (a) the tortoise Geochelone gigantea, (b) the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, (c) the Pleistocene Australian monitor † Varanus (Megalania) prisca, (d) the Eocene boid snake † Titanoboa cerrejonensis, (e) Homo sapiens, (f) the African elephant Loxodonta africana, (g) the long-necked Oligocene rhinoceros † Paraceratherium (Indricotherium) transouralicum, (h) Struthio camelus, (i) an unnamed Miocene † Phorusracidae. (B) non-avian dinosaurs: (a) the hadrodaur † Shantungosaurus giganteus, (b) the ceratopsian † Triceratops horridus, (c) the theropod †Tyrannosaurus rex, (d) the theropod † Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, (e) the sauropod † Brachiosaurus brancai, (f) the sauropod †Argentinosaurus huinculensis. Scale = 5 m.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3045712&req=5

fig01: The largest representatives of different terrestrial vertebrate clades, both extant and extinct. (A) Non-dinosaurian terrestrial vertebrates and birds: (a) the tortoise Geochelone gigantea, (b) the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, (c) the Pleistocene Australian monitor † Varanus (Megalania) prisca, (d) the Eocene boid snake † Titanoboa cerrejonensis, (e) Homo sapiens, (f) the African elephant Loxodonta africana, (g) the long-necked Oligocene rhinoceros † Paraceratherium (Indricotherium) transouralicum, (h) Struthio camelus, (i) an unnamed Miocene † Phorusracidae. (B) non-avian dinosaurs: (a) the hadrodaur † Shantungosaurus giganteus, (b) the ceratopsian † Triceratops horridus, (c) the theropod †Tyrannosaurus rex, (d) the theropod † Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, (e) the sauropod † Brachiosaurus brancai, (f) the sauropod †Argentinosaurus huinculensis. Scale = 5 m.
Mentions: Body size is one of the most fundamental attributes of any organism (Hunt & Roy, 2005; Bonner, 2006). While some body size maxima (and minima) can be observed and studied directly in living organisms (e.g. the largest trees and the largest marine vertebrates), others have occurred in the geologic past. These must be studied from the fossil record, e.g. the largest insects (giant dragonflies of the Carboniferous), the largest terrestrial predators (theropod dinosaurs), and the largest terrestrial animals ever, the sauropod dinosaurs (Fig. 1). Their uniquely gigantic body size commands special interest from an evolutionary perspective. Sauropod dinosaurs represent a hugely successful radiation of herbivores that originated in the Late Triassic, dominated terrestrial ecosystems in the Jurassic, and flourished until the very end of the Cretaceous (Curry Rogers & Wilson, 2005; Tidwell & Carpenter, 2005). The aim of this paper is to review the evolution of gigantism in sauropod dinosaurs and to discuss and explore hypotheses explaining their unique body size.

Bottom Line: Scaling relationships between gastrointestinal tract size and basal metabolic rate (BMR) suggest that sauropods compensated for the lack of particle reduction with long retention times, even at high uptake rates.The extensive pneumatization of the axial skeleton resulted from the evolution of an avian-style respiratory system, presumably at the base of Saurischia.An avian-style respiratory system would also have lowered the cost of breathing, reduced specific gravity, and may have been important in removing excess body heat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Steinmann Institute, University of Bonn, Germany. martin.sander@uni-bonn.de

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus