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Re: Teeth of protobirds

GO writes:

>I suppose, given a lizard small enough, _Archaeopteryx_ could have ingested
>it whole, like _Compsognathus_.
It can be surprising to see how large a prey item some living birds (eg a
kookaburra) can swallow - but you don't need serrated teeth, or any teeth,
to deal with such items.  Sit-and-wait predator birds like kingfishers and
puffbirds, say, will catch a prey item and bash it repeatedly against a
branch or pass it back and forth in its bill to "tenderize" it before
swallowing; bee-eaters do this to remove the stinger from their favourite prey.

I would be very surprised if Archaeopteryx, which is not all that small as
modern birds go, could not have handled lizards, frogs, salamanders (if  any
were around) or similar creatures.  Of course we don't know whether or not
it did so, but it seems reasonable to assume that it could use unserrated
teeth to handle animals modern birds eat with not teeth at all.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
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