Project U4: Feeding Strategies
|Title||Feeding strategies in sauropodomorphs: the evolution of extreme neck length and very large body size|
|Principal Investigator||Prof. Dr. Andreas Christian, Prof. Dr. P. Martin Sander|
|Researchers||Dr. Sebastian Ziehm, Jan-Thomas Möller|
Based on the results that were obtained during the first funding period, the reconstruction of the posture and mobility of the neck will be extended to sauropods with less well preserved neck skeletons. Specimens of different genera will be studied in order to reveal evolutionary patterns of the feeding strategy. For well-documented genera like Diplodocus and Camarasaurus individuals of different sizes will be examined in order to reveal changes in the feeding strategy during growth.
Data on the neck and body mass of sauropods and prosauropods and data on energy expenditures of extant vertebrates will be collected from other groups of this Research Unit or from the literature. Based on these data, mathematical models will be developed in order to compare the energetic costs of different feeding strategies with the costs of other activities and life processes like locomotion, growth and the basal metabolism.
These models will be applied to sauropods and prosauropods of different sizes and neck lengths. From the distribution of feeding strategies among sauropods and prosauropods and the estimates of energy expenditures conditions will be derived that favour the evolution of an extreme neck length and a very large body size. The general theories that will be advanced will be further tested by comparative studies on the evolution of proboscideans.