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>I don't think that any known theropods would have been as opportunistic as
>mammals, for even those traditionally assigned broad omnivorous roles are
>conceivably moderately, or very, specialised. Then again, it is to birds that
>we must constantly turn to learn/speculate about dinosaur behaviour. Truly
>opportunistic birds don't make good analogies for non-avian theropods, though,
>because they can fly....

More to the point, most vertebrates that eat both plant and animal materials
concentrate, when eating plants, on fruit and seeds, which didn't exist
until the Cretaceous; bamboo, beloved of pandas, probably didn't exist at
all before the KT as grasses radiated most broadly during the Miocene; and
eating large amounts of high-cellulose plant material like leaves involves
special digestive modifications (intestinal flora etc).  Given that plants
were simply less diverse through most of dino history (as food sources at
least) I would not expect to see as many mixed-diet dinos as we do mammals,
but more of a clear division into meat- vs. plant-eaters.  Indeed plant
eaters must have had to inhale the stuff by the ton to get enough nutrients
to survive - is that why sauropods are so big?
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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