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Project A2: Breeding Biology

Title Breeding biology of the titanosaurid sauropods compared to that of giant anurans: the link between gigantism and r-strategy
Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Böhme
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This project deals with sauropod breeding biology, specifically with what can be gleaned from fossilized eggs and their geological context in comparison with a recent model organism. Sauropods (as represented by titanosaurs) obviously produced large numbers of very small eggs but offered no parental care.

The aim of the project therefore is to understand sauropod breeding biology by comparing it to recent forms that combine such a reproductive strategy with giant body size. This first involves estimating certain parameters of sauropod breeding biology (relative clutch mass, hatchling mass, adult female mass, ratio of clutch mass to adult mass, ratio of hatchling mass to adult mass). The data base is from our work in the Ampelosaurus nesting grounds of northern Spain.

The modern model organism that combines gigantism (albeit relative) with a reproductive r-strategy is the goliath frog (Conraua goliath) from tropical West Africa. We intend to study the poorly known breeding biology of this largest of all frogs in a field study, comparing it with that of smaller syntopic Conraua species that are less r-selected to understand the link between body size and breeding biology. The C. goliath is an endangered species, thus creating added impetus for this research.

 

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