Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to Feed a Sauropod

Sauropods were the largest land animals to ever roam the earth. Back in the Jurassic Era, they moved, most likely in herds, across the land stripping it of vegetation. Although scientists have gained a certain amount of knowledge about these gigantic beasts, much remains a mystery. The biggest question remains how they were able to consume so much food: "How did they possibly get enough to eat to grow so hefty, to lengths of 15 to 150 feet and estimated weights of up to 70 tons? A mere elephant has to eat 18 hours a day to get its fill. Even in the Mesozoic era, there were only 24 hours in a day" (New York Times).

The apparent answer is that they did not chew. Without molars, these enormous dinosaurs swallowed the food and it was digested very slowly as it moved through the neck and stomach-- sometimes taking up to two weeks to process. The article is pretty fascinating.

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