2002 wilkinson & ruxton 2013), may have resulted in sauropods being obliged to consume vast quantities of food, necessitating large body size. Historically, it has been suggested that large body size confers a digestive advantage in terms of a longer digesta retention time and hence a higher digestive efficiency (reviewed in - see that text for detailed references, and , . Mechanical processing in a large herbivore’s digestive system the animal’s overall diet plant factors the giant body size of sauropods, along with their need. Study into dinosaurs’ diet reveals sauropods didn’t need to gorge on plants after all set about to determine the plants’ nutritional value by using an artificial fermentation system that simulated the digestion process of the plant leaves like it would have occurred in the stomach of a sauropod “the large body size of sauropods. 2002 wilkinson & ruxton 2013), may have resulted in sauropods being obliged to consume vast quantities of food, necessitating large body size much evidence cited by those authors focuses on the response of angiosperms to co 2 growth concentrations up to twice current ambient levels and the effect on associated insect herbivores (eg roth & lindroth 1995 curtis 1996 wand et al.
Sauropods didn’t grow so large because of reduced gravity, greater oxygen content in the prehistoric atmosphere, or because of an overabundance of food, the paleontologists concluded more subtle factors accounted for big body size. Digestive physiology has played a prominent role in explanations for terrestrial herbivore body size evolution and size-driven diversification and niche differentiation this is based on the association of increasing body mass (bm) with diets of lower quality, and with putative mechanisms by which a higher bm could translate into a higher digestive efficiency.
In the literature on species diversification and niche differentiation of extant large herbivores, it is widely assumed that ‘size itself is an important adaptation, because the effect of lower selectivity in large animals would appear to be easily outweighed by their greater digestive efficiency and fasting endurance’ (p 85 in ), supporting hypothesis 2a.
An artificial fermentation system was used to simulate digestion of the plant leaves in the sauropods' stomachs, allowing the researchers to determine the leaves' nutritional value.
Some have speculated that their large body size was driven by predation, as larger bodies, especially the size of sauropods, were a natural defense (sander, et al, 2011) given the evidence, it is more likely that immunity to predation was a lucky side effect of size, not the driving factor.
A large body also requires an elongated digestive system, another potential reason for sauropods’ rapid growth rates: a long digestive system extracts more nutrients from food an innovative lung design researchers have discovered another important sauropod trait. Integrated botanical and paleobotanical perspective mechanical processing in a large herbivore’s digestive system plant factors the giant body size of sauropods, along with their need.