Speculations about the diet and digestive physiology of herbivorous dinosaurs

@article{Farlow1987SpeculationsAT,
  title={Speculations about the diet and digestive physiology of herbivorous dinosaurs},
  author={James O Farlow},
  journal={Paleobiology},
  year={1987},
  volume={13},
  pages={60 - 72}
}
  • J. Farlow
  • Published 1987
  • Environmental Science
  • Paleobiology
Like living herbivorous lizards, chelonians, birds, and mammals, plant-eating dinosaurs probably relied on a symbiotic gut microflora, housed in a hindgut fermentation chamber, to break down plant cell wall constituents. Large body sizes in most herbivorous dinosaurs resulted in low mass-specific metabolic rates and low rates of digesta passage through the gut; the effects of large body size were probably enhanced by the low metabolic rates of large dinosaurs as compared with large mammals. The… 

Consumption of crustaceans by megaherbivorous dinosaurs: dietary flexibility and dinosaur life history strategies

TLDR
F fossilized feces (coprolites) that demonstrate recurring consumption of crustaceans and rotted wood by large Late Cretaceous dinosaurs are described and reveal a degree of dietary flexibility that is consistent with that of extant herbivorous birds.

Mesozoic plants and dinosaur herbivory

TLDR
F Ferns, seed ferns, ginkgoes, and the Cheirolepidiaceae were previously viewed as the food plants favored by dinosaurs, but animal nutrition science, comparative herbivore physiology, and digestive tract anatomy of modern herbivores suggest otherwise.

The maximum attainable body size of herbivorous mammals: morphophysiological constraints on foregut, and adaptations of hindgut fermenters

TLDR
It is suggested that the decreasing ability for colonic water absorption in large grazing ruminants and the largest extant foregut fermenter, the hippopotamus, are an indication of this limit, and are the outcome of the competition of organs for the available space within the abdominal cavity.

In vitro digestibility of fern and gymnosperm foliage: implications for sauropod feeding ecology and diet selection

TLDR
Using a feed evaluation test for extant herbivores, it is shown that the energy content of horsetails and of certain conifers and ferns is at a level comparable to extant browse, which makes possible a more realistic calculation of the daily food intake of an individual sauropod and improves understanding of how large herbivorous dinosaurs could have flourished in pre-angiosperm ecosystems.

Mutualistic Fermentative Digestion in the Gastrointestinal Tract: Diversity and Evolution1

  • R. Mackie
  • Medicine, Biology
    Integrative and comparative biology
  • 2002
TLDR
The development and application of molecular ecology techniques promises to link distribution and identity of gastrointestinal microbes in their natural environment with their genetic potential and in situ activities.

Herbivory and Body Size: Allometries of Diet Quality and Gastrointestinal Physiology, and Implications for Herbivore Ecology and Dinosaur Gigantism

TLDR
It is suggested that explanatory models should shift from physiological to ecological scenarios based on the association of forage quality and biomass availability, and the association between BM and feeding selectivity, and that other factors than digestive physiology appear more promising candidates to explain evolutionary drives towards extreme BM.

Plant-animal Interaction: The Effect of Permian Megaherbivores on the Glossopterid Flora

TLDR
With the appearance and diversification of dinocephalian and anomodont terrestrial herbivores in the Permian, plants responded to this intense herbivory by deterrence and escape and high activity rates and possibly homeothermy may have evolved in these Herbivores.

Contributions of microbes in vertebrate gastrointestinal tract to production and conservation of nutrients.

TLDR
The contributions of gut microorganisms common to all vertebrates are discussed, the numerous digestive strategies that allow herbivores to maximize these contributions, and the effects of low-fiber diets and discontinuous feeding schedules on these microbial digestive processes are discussed.

Diets of giants: the nutritional value of sauropod diet during the Mesozoic

TLDR
This work shows plant species‐specific responses in metabolizable energy and nitrogen content, equivalent to a two‐fold variation in daily food intake estimates for a typical sauropod, for dinosaur food plant analogues grown under CO 2 concentrations spanning estimates for Mesozoic atmospheric concentrations.

No gastric mill in sauropod dinosaurs: new evidence from analysis of gastrolith mass and function in ostriches

  • O. WingsP. M. Sander
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2006
TLDR
It is shown that based on feeding experiments with ostriches and comparative data for relative gastrolith mass in birds, sauropod gastroliths do not represent the remains of an avian-style gastric mill, arguing against the presence of a gastrics mill in sauropods.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 96 REFERENCES

The Influence of Food Habits on the Energetics of Eutherian Mammals

  • B. McNab
  • Environmental Science, Biology
  • 1986
TLDR
The level of energy expenditure in eutherian mammals is correlated with the type of food consumed, especially in medium—sized to large species; some foods permit high basal rates, while other foods require low basal rates.

Structure and Function of the Digestive Tract of a Herbivorous Lizard Iguana iguana

TLDR
Contrary to previous assertions, reptiles can be as efficient herbivores as mammals.

Ornithopod Feeding Mechanisms: Their Bearing on the Evolution of Herbivory

TLDR
The ability to grind plant fibers in a manner analogous to that used by present-day mammals was an important factor contributing to the rise and diversification of advanced ornithopods culminating with the hadrosaurids of the late Cretaceous.

Nutritional Ecology of Sea Turtles

TLDR
Comparison with green turtles on high-quality, pelleted diets shows that the productivity of wild populations is well below their genetic potential, and Ironically, nutrient limitation acting through delayed sexual maturity may benefit green turtles during periods of intense exploitation by man.

Strategies in Herbivory by Mammals: The Role of Plant Secondary Compounds

TLDR
Large herbivores must select food from a wide variety of plant parts, species, and strains, and should prefer to feed on foods that contain small amounts of secondary compounds, and their body size and searching strategies should be adapted to optimize the number of types of foods available.

Effect of Diet on Visceral Morphology of Breeding Wood Ducks

TLDR
An evaluation of the dynamics of gut morphology in Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) hens provides an opportunity to assess the significance of the changes observed in the size of the digestive organs of Wood Ducks in relation to food habits, diet quality, and reproductive state.

Nutrition and grazing behavior of the green turtle Chelonia mydas

TLDR
Green turtles consumed a more digestible forage-higher in protein and lower in lignin-than the ungrazed, older leaves of T. testudinum, and the selectivity of green turtles for either a seagrass or algal diet may reflect the specificity of their intestinal microflora.

Fiber Digestion in the Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, a Large Bird with a Simple Gut and High Rates of Passage

TLDR
The ability of the emu to digest and metabolize plant fiber may assist its survival during periods of decreased food quality and abundance in the interior of Australia.

Diet of prosauropod dinosaurs from the late Triassic and early Jurassic

  • P. Galton
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 1985
TLDR
All prosauropods were high browsers that extended the feeding range with a long neck and tripodal feeding and used herding and the enormous claw on the pollex for defense, and probably had a muscular gastric mill with stones that was used for grinding the food.
...