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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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Body mass of the largest species inhabiting a land mass regressed against the size of the land mass in extant and Late Pleistocene terrestrial amniotes. The species are grouped by metabolism (bradymetabolic ectothermy versus tachymetabolic endothermy) and trophic level (herbivores versus carnivores). The two outliers of endothermic herbivores are island dwarf elephants. The largest species were ectothermic herbivores on only three land masses, precluding regression analysis of this group. Note that maximum body mass for a given land mass decreases with increasing metabolic rate and trophic level. Fossil mammal taxa adhere to the regressions while sauropod and theropod dinosaurs do not, being much larger than predicted. See text for details. Redrawn from Burness et al. (2001).
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fig03: Body mass of the largest species inhabiting a land mass regressed against the size of the land mass in extant and Late Pleistocene terrestrial amniotes. The species are grouped by metabolism (bradymetabolic ectothermy versus tachymetabolic endothermy) and trophic level (herbivores versus carnivores). The two outliers of endothermic herbivores are island dwarf elephants. The largest species were ectothermic herbivores on only three land masses, precluding regression analysis of this group. Note that maximum body mass for a given land mass decreases with increasing metabolic rate and trophic level. Fossil mammal taxa adhere to the regressions while sauropod and theropod dinosaurs do not, being much larger than predicted. See text for details. Redrawn from Burness et al. (2001).

Mentions: Dinosaurs have long been associated with extraordinary body size (Dodson, 1990), and estimates of maximal dinosaurian body size have received more than passing attention. Partially this is because of the innately human interest in identifying the largest ever representative of a group (Owen-Smith, 1988), which sometimes led to exaggerated claims of body mass for dinosaurs and fossil mammals (Fortelius & Kappelman, 1993). However, only recently has it been realized that two groups stand out among the dinosaurs from an ecological perspective, the Theropoda and the Sauropoda. While other studies (Janis & Carrano, 1992; Farlow, 1993; Paul, 1994, 1997b, 1998; Alexander, 1998) addressed this issue, that of Burness, Diamond & Flannery (2001) is most to the point. Regressing land mass size against body mass of the largest species inhabiting the land mass (top species) for recent and Pleistocene terrestrial tetrapods, Burness et al. (2001) observed that there is close correlation between these two variables when trophic level (herbivory versus carnivory) and metabolism (bradymetabolic ectothermy versus tachymetabolic endothermy) are taken into account (Fig. 3). The study included top species on land masses ranging from small oceanic islands of a few square kilometers in size to continents as large as Asia.


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)

Body mass of the largest species inhabiting a land mass regressed against the size of the land mass in extant and Late Pleistocene terrestrial amniotes. The species are grouped by metabolism (bradymetabolic ectothermy versus tachymetabolic endothermy) and trophic level (herbivores versus carnivores). The two outliers of endothermic herbivores are island dwarf elephants. The largest species were ectothermic herbivores on only three land masses, precluding regression analysis of this group. Note that maximum body mass for a given land mass decreases with increasing metabolic rate and trophic level. Fossil mammal taxa adhere to the regressions while sauropod and theropod dinosaurs do not, being much larger than predicted. See text for details. Redrawn from Burness et al. (2001).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

fig03: Body mass of the largest species inhabiting a land mass regressed against the size of the land mass in extant and Late Pleistocene terrestrial amniotes. The species are grouped by metabolism (bradymetabolic ectothermy versus tachymetabolic endothermy) and trophic level (herbivores versus carnivores). The two outliers of endothermic herbivores are island dwarf elephants. The largest species were ectothermic herbivores on only three land masses, precluding regression analysis of this group. Note that maximum body mass for a given land mass decreases with increasing metabolic rate and trophic level. Fossil mammal taxa adhere to the regressions while sauropod and theropod dinosaurs do not, being much larger than predicted. See text for details. Redrawn from Burness et al. (2001).
Mentions: Dinosaurs have long been associated with extraordinary body size (Dodson, 1990), and estimates of maximal dinosaurian body size have received more than passing attention. Partially this is because of the innately human interest in identifying the largest ever representative of a group (Owen-Smith, 1988), which sometimes led to exaggerated claims of body mass for dinosaurs and fossil mammals (Fortelius & Kappelman, 1993). However, only recently has it been realized that two groups stand out among the dinosaurs from an ecological perspective, the Theropoda and the Sauropoda. While other studies (Janis & Carrano, 1992; Farlow, 1993; Paul, 1994, 1997b, 1998; Alexander, 1998) addressed this issue, that of Burness, Diamond & Flannery (2001) is most to the point. Regressing land mass size against body mass of the largest species inhabiting the land mass (top species) for recent and Pleistocene terrestrial tetrapods, Burness et al. (2001) observed that there is close correlation between these two variables when trophic level (herbivory versus carnivory) and metabolism (bradymetabolic ectothermy versus tachymetabolic endothermy) are taken into account (Fig. 3). The study included top species on land masses ranging from small oceanic islands of a few square kilometers in size to continents as large as Asia.

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