retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Did you see the story in the New York Times about the eating habits of sauropods, described as “huge, some unbelievably gigantic, the biggest animals ever to lumber across the land, consuming everything in sight. Their necks were much longer than a giraffe’s, their tails just about as long and their bodies like an elephant’s, only much more so.”

According to the story, a team of German and Swiss scientists has “re-engineered” a sauropod to figure out how they got so big. (Re-engineering, it appears, is different from using genetic engineering to recreate one. Which will be a relief to people remembering how badly things went at Jurassic Park.)

The scientists have concluded that sauropods “were the ultimate fast-food gourmands. Reaching all around with their long necks, these giants gulped down enormous meals. With no molars in their relatively small heads, they were unequipped for serious chewing. They let the digestive juices of their capacious bodies break down their heaping intake while they just kept packing away more chow ...

“(Another) conclusion is that their very young grew rapidly: A human baby doubles in weight in about five months, a sauropod in only five days; and an adolescent sauropod put on 3,500 pounds a year. These are growth rates higher than in today’s reptiles. They enabled these dinosaurs to reach sexual maturity in their second decade of life and full size in their third.”

On the one hand, it needs to be noted that the sauropods were able to eat this way and thrive without the benefit of menu labeling laws, government recommendations, Michelle Obama or Jamie Oliver.

On the other hand, sauropods are extinct.

And that’s our Thursday Eye-Opener.
KC's View: