Hanging with the big boys

The many now-famous mass accumulations in the Morrison Formation in the USA (see Figure 8.13), the Tendaguru bonebeds of Tanzania (see Box 14.7), the Lower Jurassic sauropod sites of India, and most recently the Middle Jurassic of Sichuan, China, together with the vast sauropod footprint assemblages, all speak loudly to the existence of gregariousness of sauropods, including Shunosaurus, Diplodocus, and Camarasaurus.

Sauropods living in large groups must have been capable of wreaking severe damage on local vegetation, either by stripping away all the foliage they could reach or by trampling into the ground all of the shrubs, brush, and trees that might have got in the way. So while herds of sauropods likely depleted their food sources and had to move on for more, other sauro-pods, including Brachiosaurus and Haplocanthosaurus from the Morrison Formation, and

Opisthocoelicaudia from Mongolia, are not so numerous and may thus have lived a more solitary existence, not needing to keep traveling for sustenance. Other than these generalities, we know little about how sauropods communicated within herds, who ran the show, or what might have caught a sauropod's wayward eye.

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