Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism.
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.
Affiliation: Steinmann Institute, University of Bonn, Germany. email@example.comShow MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus
Mentions: The prerequisite for all enquiries into the evolution of body size, and gigantism in particular, are robust phylogenetic hypotheses (see Gould & MacFadden, 2004). These have only become available for sauropods in the last 15 years, through the work of J.A. Wilson (Wilson, 2002, 2005; Wilson & Upchurch, 2009; see also Wilson & Sereno, 1998), P. Upchurch (Upchurch et al., 2004; see also Upchurch, 1995, 1998, 1999), and K. Curry Rogers on titanosaurs (Curry Rogers, 2005; see also Salgado, Coria & Calvo, 1997). These hypotheses largely agree on the general aspects of sauropod phylogeny (Fig. 4) with a consensus now having been reached (Wilson & Upchurch, 2009). Also, Taylor et al. (in press) define Sauropoda as all taxa closer to Saltasaurus than to Melanorosaurus, and hopefully this definition will lead to some systematic stability.
Affiliation: Steinmann Institute, University of Bonn, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org