Most people on here probably know of it, so I'll skip pleasantries.

Most people on here probably know of it, so I'll skip pleasantries. But one of the quickest complaints people have with it is that it's reported as being carnivorous when sauropods were herbivores - but what's stopping sauropods from being non-incidentally carnivorous? They certainly had the bite force to do so, and most other herbivores will snack on protein if they need it. Not to mention sauropods are descended from predators. So, what's stopping a smaller sauropod from adapting to be a hunter of small animals, like in the example given of a relic population? To be clear I don't want to discuss if Mokele Mbembe is around or not, I want to discuss non-incidental carnivory in sauropods.

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  1. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Cryptids always make me sad about what could be, but isn't

  2. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Sauropod coprolites are extremely common but never contain bones.

  3. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Protoceratops eating a velociraptor

  4. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    But were their hands pronated?

  5. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    >yes, but they either can't digest it, or digest it very poorly.
    Obviously there's a sliding scale, but I was under the impression that something like a cow or a horse (pretty specialised grazers) would get a lot more nutrition from eating an animal than a fox or wolf (almost omnivorous as predators go) would from eating grass.
    There's a whole palaeo-art 'meme' about occasional carnivory among herbivores, with lots of pictures of ceratopsians eating other dinosaurs (usually therapods, for the irony). Is that just one of those things where Darren Naish suggests thinking outside the box and everyone else immediately jumps into a different, much sillier, box?
    >And switching to eating nothing but meat would require a complete reworking of the gut.
    Right, but that's also true the other way and the carnivore gut 'looks' easier to evolve from the herbivore one than vice-versa to my untrained mind. A carnivore gut is usually a fairly 'simplified' design, isn't it? While dedicated leaf-eaters have ultra-complicated things like extra stomachs, rumination, etc. (Obviously there are herbivores which eat fruit, tubers, etc. which are easier to digest and their guts seem more carnivore-like)
    Although sauropods specifically seem to have a few differences from ruminants and the like which could be relevant. As far as I'm aware, their strategy for digesting leaves can be summed up as 'just be really big'. Large animals have big stomachs and long intestines, which inherently makes it easier to extract nutrients from plants (although that raises an issue I never really considered before; what did baby sauropods eat?). On one hand, that seems to make evolving back to a carnivore simpler (just don't be as big) but on the other, there seems to be a lot of opportunity for runaway bacterial growth as meat rots inside you. Their guy ecology must have been pretty wild.
    I assume there has been a lot written about the topic of sauropod digestive systems. Any recommendations?

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      >with lots of pictures of ceratopsians eating other dinosaurs
      I'm 100% on the "ceratopsians are carnivores" train, and I don't care if it derails the thread.

      • 11 months ago
        Anonymous

        Are you saying that you're entirely convinced that they were because of overwhelming scientific evidence, or just that you think it would be kind of awesome?
        Because I totally think it would be awesome if huge spiky monsters ate other monsters with their creepy beaks. But I also want to be able to distinguish things which I think would be awesome from things which are actually supported by evidence.

        • 11 months ago
          Anonymous

          it would be awesome

  6. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    [...]

    bro learn how to chill out. There's no reason to enter EVERY dinosaur thread and yell everybody down. Get a handle on your autism.

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      [...]

      I think there's a lot of variation in how polite correcting people is seen as.
      To some people, it is just accepted as offering helpful new information, while for others it is downright insulting.
      I believe there is a significant cultural element; 'shame' or 'face' based cultures are notoriously unwilling to accept being wrong and prone to taking offence if corrected.
      But there are gender, class, subculture, and age factors too. STEM academics, engineers, and old-school nerds are often quite open to it, but 'creative' or humanities types are more likely to get defensive. Men are more accepting of correction than women. Autists are often OK with it, while cluster-B personality disorder people (especially narcissists) react very badly. Middle-class people (in the West) seem more likely to accept it than working-class ones.
      Who the correction is coming from is often important as well. Someone perceived as high-status can usually get away with correcting someone of lower status, but correcting your superiors (or even your equals) is more likely to be seen as rude.
      But really, if you're posting on Wauf(nel), you should expect impolite bluntness as the minimum level of rudeness.

  7. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    >Doesn't agree with isotopes analysis or dental wear. Or tooth shape.
    Incidental carnivory doesn't require precise dentition and often doesn't come up isotopyically. If there were a ghost lineage that started feeding on, hypothetically, aquatic plants instead of trees (perhaps some sort of rebacchisaurid or dicraeosaurid? Some sort of low browser small body one) then crustacean and fish consumption would skyrocket along with it. It would be interesting to see how many/few steps it would take for those changes to occur.

  8. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    obligate herbivores are virtually non-existent and the only one I've ever found for sure is the koala

  9. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    [...]

    [...]

    [...]

    OP here, stop schizoposting. I was asking a what-if because I found the concept interesting, not because I believe it happened.

  10. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    diet of all things appears incredibly fluid to such a degree that it almost seems intentional that a species can go from carnivore/herbivore to omnivore relatively easily in all but the most obligate of carnivores.

  11. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    >But if we ignore all of this pesky reality then your idea might make sense.
    It's a tall-tale animal, so strict realism isn't really on the table. Jackalopes, wumpus cats, and el cuero are all rather unlikely to evolve, but it can be fun to try and come up with a vaguely plausible biology for them.
    >Aside from the fact that there wasn't enough meat on the planet to support carnivores that size
    Isn't mokele-mbembe usually portrayed as considerably smaller than the huge Cretaceous sauropods? Like, bigger than a hippo, but no larger than an elephant. That still seems very, very large for a carnivore, but it wouldn't be the biggest predator ever.
    >and carnivores are almost always much smaller than their prey
    For large carnivores, that seems to be right, but a bit of a sweeping statement. Plenty of predators in the fox or smaller range seem to specialise in significantly smaller prey (often vertebrates eating insects, but lots of rodent eaters too).
    >nothing about the body of sauropods would be useful for hunting, and they probably couldn't catch any animal alive except maybe other sauropods
    True for a pursuit predator going for big prey, but that isn't the only carnivore niche. Fish-catching might be viable.

  12. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    I think the more plausible answer, if this thing even existed, is that 60+ million years is more than enough time for literally any animal to develop from a herbivorous to a carnivorous diet, 10 times over.

  13. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    >this is because carnivory is basal and herbivory derived. Canivory is the default, herbivory requires shitloads of adaptations.
    How does that work? Surely it's harder to 'add' adaptations than lose them? Carnivores (that I'm familiar with; not a scientist) can't really digest leaves, but most herbivores can and will eat meat, right? So there's a clear path to evolve from herbivore to carnivore; just eat more animals. While becoming a dedicated herbivore involves evolving some horribly complex gut so that you can extract enough nutrients from crappy plant material, along with symbiotic bacteria, specialised teeth, and so on. Intuitively, it would make more sense to me if herbivores turned into carnivores all the time, while the reverse was very rare. But obviously what we actually observe is the opposite.
    I guess there's some kind of lesson about not just assuming what seems to make the most sense...

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      carnivory and herbivory both involve the consumption of living tissue, herbivory is just a much more complex form of it.

  14. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    I want to frick it

  15. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Should it in theory have lost its long neck due to selective pressures? What's the advantage of the long neck if it was a carnivore?

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      Fish-grapping? Lunge-reach for an ambush predator? Both seem viable for something that lives in rivers.
      Overall, there doesn't seem to be much stopping evolution from switching between herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore, since it is actually a fairly common thing to see. Sauropods specifically seem fairly badly suited due to being rather specialized at the 'mass and gas' digestive strategy, but I wouldn't rule it out.
      The other possibility, of course, is that a dinosaur (or whatever) more suited to the carnivore diet evolved superficially sauropod-like traits. The long neck is maybe a stretch (hah!) but plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, and Tanystropheus had them, as do some carnivorous birds. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much which couldn't plausibly evolve from a spinosaur, for example.

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      >So, what's stopping a smaller sauropod from adapting to be a hunter of small animals
      Since sauropods probably didn’t chew and existence of a gizzard is debatable, it’s pretty likely that they relied heavily on fermentation for digestion, or maybe they just ate plenty of their shit instead. I don’t know enough to even offer a good wild guess. But, in some modern herbivores, too much meat will frick with the pH needed for proper fermentation (among other things). If a theoretical small sauropod has a small gut to body size ratio, I could see it favoring more meat in its diet.

      >What's the advantage of the long neck if it was a carnivore?
      Maybe a vague trap like picrelated. All sorts of small critters and debris will naturally rest in a nook and can leisurely be nibbled upon.
      A more active use for a long neck might be similar to snakebirds? Relies on rapidly spearing prey, but if your prey isn’t fast moving or extra slippery you might be able to make a sauropod-like body plan work.

      • 11 months ago
        Anonymous

        Or a maybe a hunting strategy like this caterpillar

  16. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Well semi-related but weren't some prosauropods once thought to be carnivorous? Until it was "proven" that the teeth found with them came from something else?

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