FRESH WATER – SAURIANS IN PARADISE
To a zoologist, lakes and rivers are the perfect places to observe several animal species at once: Who would have thought that this was already the case when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth?
Those areas of the earth that are covered with freshwater are very small if we compare them with the vast space that is taken up by air, land and sea. The habitats, however, that fresh water provides and accommodates are immensely diverse. They offer countless living creatures both nourishment and protection. From the point of view of “saurians”, both those still alive today and those that are already extinct, they are and were frequently crucial in terms of their prospects of ultimate survival.
In dry regions, in particular, watering holes and rivers represent the meeting-point of greatest significance for animals of all kinds. It is here that they quench their thirst, where they can bathe and find sufficient food, both on the banks and in the water.
It is frequently the case that watering places in the deserts or savannas are the only locations for miles around where there are trees and plants to be found. Fish and invertebrates abound in water, serving as a valuable source of nourishment. Carnivores, too, find easy prey here as most types of animals will regularly come by to drink
Fresh water was presumably the stepping stone for the first quadrupeds to venture on land. These animals, which, as exemplified by Ichthyostega, where still quite fish-like in appearance, found spoils in abundance in the rivers and lakes. Given the often murky conditions and the underwater undergrowth, it proved beneficial to have pinnae which resembled legs. They enabled the animals to hold on to the undergrowth and manoeuvre themselves through is slowly.
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