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Re: "Segnosaur" teeth



>Tom Holtz wrote:
>>Other potentially omnivorous theropods include oviraptorosaurs,
>>ornithomimosaurs, and Avimimus.
>
>Interesting. How did they get around the problem that meat-eating teeth are
>not good for processing vegetable matter and vice versa? Mammals did it by
>differentiating their teeth along the jaw, dinosaurs did not have this
>option.

Well, actually, Troodontidae is characterized by heterodont dentition
(different sorts of teeth).  In fact, as Phil Currie showed about a decade
ago, several different dinosaur "species", each known only from distinctive
teeth, are actually just the different style teeth in the jaws of the
single species Troodon formosus.

Also, oviraptorids and ornithomimids got around this problem by losing
teeth, since (as turtles and birds have shown), a sharp beak can chop up
plants just as well.

An advantage all these forms would have is that their teeth (or lack
thereof) do not seem to be so specialized as to prevent them from eating
meat.  In fact, like most members of the mammal group Carnivora, many of
these theropods may have been omnivores.

                                
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.                                   
tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile                  Phone:      703-648-5280
U.S. Geological Survey                                FAX:      703-648-5420
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA  22092
U.S.A.