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Re: miscellaneous questions

>        The one thing that really bugged me about his _Shuvosaurus_ paper
>is that he did a great analysis of the peculiar arching of the palate and
>mandibles in _Shuvosaurus_, which turn out to be similar to those in modern
>nut-cracking birds, so Chatterjee jumped to the conclusion that
>_Shuvosaurus_ was a Triassic animal cracking nuts for a living.  Somewhere,
>though, he forgot that nuts didn't evolve until the angiosperms did, in the
>Cretaceous.  I've met Chatterjee briefly, and I work with one of his former
>colleagues, and I do believe that Chatterjee isn't a bad scientist at
>all...he just had a goof.  We all do that!  In the eternal words of Homer
>Simpson:  "D'OH!"  8-)
>Jerry D. Harris

I've met Chatterjee too, and among other things found him a very personable
and friendly man - no pomposity at all - so I would agree that he does not
deserve some of the stuff that has been flung at him, whether or not his
conclusions are correct.  We all make mistakes, and the more enthusistic we
are the more, in some cases, we are likely to jump to attractive conclusions
from difficult material.

As for Shuvosaurus; well, of course it couldn't crack nuts - but
hard-shelled seeds are another matter.  Cycads, cycadeoids, seed ferns like
Glossopteris, Caytoniales, Ginkgoales, and Voltziales all existed in the
Triassic (acc. to "Paleobotany and the evolution of plants" by Wilson
Stewart) so a diverse range of seeds was probably available.  "Nut-cracker"
jaws might also be useful for dealing with hard-shelled invertebrates.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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