Aestivation among ornithopod dinosaurs of the African Trias



Thulborn, Richard A. 1978 07 15: Aestivation among ornithopod dinosaurs of the African Trias. Lethaia. Vol. 11, pp. 185–198. Oslo. ISSN 0024–1164.

Dental and circumstantial evidence supports the theory that ornithopod dinosaurs of the African Red Beds responded to seasonal changes in their environment by resorting to aestivation (dry season dormancy). One group of ornithopods. the heterodontosaurids. apparently suppressed tooth replacement to permit efficient grinding of their plant food and probably replaced their entire cheek dentitions while aestivating. The sympatric fabrosaurid ornithopods had a simple open-and-shut jaw action and replaced their teeth continuously in standard reptilian fashion. Seasonal dormancy must have imposed major constraints on the lives of fabrosaurids and heterodontosaurids. and these constraints are summarized in the model of a circannual life cycle.