Cussion Questions

1. What evidence would be needed to show that any sauropodomorphs lived in shallow aquatic environments but came up on land occasionally, as with modern hippopotamuses? If one species of sauropodomorph was deemed to be aquatic but it was only capable of withstanding 1.5 atm of pressure, what would be the maximum depth difference between it in fresh water versus salt water?

2. What evidence would be needed to support the hypothesis that some of the long-tailed sauropods used their tails as whips? What would you look for in the skeleton itself, and what sorts of trace fossils might indicate that the tails were used in such a way?

3. Make a list of the postcranial characteristics of prosauropods and sauropods. How did they differ and how were they similar? What do the differences tell you about evolutionary changes in sauropods as opposed to prosauropods?

4. Some presumed sauropod nests, interpreted on the basis of clutches of large, spheroidal eggs, are also interpreted as having been laid in conical pits. What anatomical adaptations did sauropods possess that would have aided in their excavation of nests for laying eggs? Would members of some clades have had an anatomical advantage over others in digging nests?

5. What evidence indicates that sauropodomorphs in general were not great "chewers" of food? Cite both body and trace fossil evidence. How would undoubted sauropodomorph coprolites or former gut contents either corroborate or falsify the hypothesis?

6. If sauropods did move in herds, what kind of trackway patterns would convince you that the adults in the herd protected the juveniles from pack-hunting or individual theropods? Sketch such patterns, then compare them with those sketched by your classmates. Discuss which of the strategies they represent would have offered the best protection and why.

7. While doing volunteer work on a dinosaur excavation site, you find what you suspect are gastroliths in a Late Jurassic deposit, but there is no sauropod skeleton evident around them. How would you support the hypothesis that they are gastroliths, and not just randomly distributed stones? What evidence would convince you that your hypothesis is wrong?

8. At the same site as in question 7, with its excavation of Late Jurassic rocks, you find a suspected sauropod coprolite with identifiable fragments of ferns. How could this coprolite be correlated with potential tracemakers through the use of data on neck anatomy and tooth wear?

9. What are some hypothetical evolutionary effects of sauropods stepping on low-lying plants and grazing large amounts of these same plants? For analogies, think of modern grazing animals and the impact they have on the plants of their landscape.

10. Compare prosauropods to the therizinosaurs (Chapter 11). How are these dinosaurs similar in overall body plans? What are some key anatomical traits that you would use to distinguish them if you found either one in the fossil record?

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  • dolores
    What evidence would be needed to show that a dinosaur lived in shalow later?
    7 months ago
  • Pupetta Fiorentini
    What evidence would be needed to show that any sauropodomorphs lived in shallow aquatic environments?
    2 months ago

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