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Allometry of visceral organs in living amniotes and its implications for sauropod dinosaurs


Franz, R; Hummel, J; Kienzle, E; Kölle, P; Gunga, H C; Clauss, Marcus (2009). Allometry of visceral organs in living amniotes and its implications for sauropod dinosaurs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1662):1731-1736.

Abstract

Allometric equations are often used to extrapolate traits in animals for which only body mass estimates are known, such as dinosaurs. One important decision can be whether these equations should be based on mammal, bird, or reptile data. To address whether this choice will have a relevant influence on reconstructions, we compared allometric equations for birds and mammals from the literature to those for reptiles derived from both literature and hitherto unpublished data. Organs studied included the heart, kidneys, liver, and gut, as well as gut contents. While the available data indicates that gut content mass does not differ between the clades, the organ masses for reptiles are generally lower than those of mammals and birds. In particular, gut tissue mass is significantly lower in reptiles. When applying the results in the reconstruction of a sauropod dinosaur, the estimated volume of the coelomic cavity greatly exceeds the estimated volume of the combined organ masses, irrespective of the allometric equation used. Therefore, substantial deviation of sauropod organ allometry from that of the extant vertebrates can be allowed conceptually. Extrapolations of retention times from estimated gut contents mass and food intake do not suggest digestive constraints on sauropod dinosaur body size.

Abstract

Allometric equations are often used to extrapolate traits in animals for which only body mass estimates are known, such as dinosaurs. One important decision can be whether these equations should be based on mammal, bird, or reptile data. To address whether this choice will have a relevant influence on reconstructions, we compared allometric equations for birds and mammals from the literature to those for reptiles derived from both literature and hitherto unpublished data. Organs studied included the heart, kidneys, liver, and gut, as well as gut contents. While the available data indicates that gut content mass does not differ between the clades, the organ masses for reptiles are generally lower than those of mammals and birds. In particular, gut tissue mass is significantly lower in reptiles. When applying the results in the reconstruction of a sauropod dinosaur, the estimated volume of the coelomic cavity greatly exceeds the estimated volume of the combined organ masses, irrespective of the allometric equation used. Therefore, substantial deviation of sauropod organ allometry from that of the extant vertebrates can be allowed conceptually. Extrapolations of retention times from estimated gut contents mass and food intake do not suggest digestive constraints on sauropod dinosaur body size.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:24 Mar 2009 14:11
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 14:07
Publisher:Royal Society of London
ISSN:0962-8452
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.1735

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