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Bird lice, other "stuff"



Hi people,

This month's Discover magazine has a sidebar concerning a study of the lice
on cowbirds. According the the study one can determine the "host" species
nest the cowbird was hatched in by the specific lice it carries. None of the
birds, host or otherwise, was hurt in the study, but a lot of lice bought the
farm. (Arrrrgh :-) )

I wish there was a way for us to identify whether or not there were parasites
on or in dinosaurs. Like many other things I am ignorant of, this may have
been addressed previously. If this is the case, sorry. Would there be any
evidence in corprolites of intestinal freeloaders? Aside from bone research,
concerning dino ailments, does anyone know of such studies? I know Dr. Bob
Bakker believes that disease was the actual cause of the mass extinction at
the end of the Cretaceous, but is there any physical evidence to support
this? 

Maybe that's how they (dinos) became extinct. If you've ever had an encounter
with a half million "Seed Ticks" or "Chiggers" you can understand how the
resulting itching can drive you nuts. Constant scratching and risk of
infection could have lead to interruption of breeding cycles and feeding
processes. (Just kidding around, just bitchin' 'bout biting bugs). I don't
know that there were ticks and such around during the reign of dinos. Maybe
there were more than enough skeeters to make up for modern external
parasites.


Paul Willis writes;
>Ouch! At least when you find a croc tooth in a deposit, you know who the
top predator was.<

We found croc teeth, and VERY large therapod teeth, within a few feet of each
other at our dig in NW S. Dakota. (Upper Hell Creek Formation) So, to assume
that the croc was the "top predator" seems a bit of a reach, to me. I think a
really hungery T. rex, or other BIG therapod, could stomp the guts (sorry)
out of even a good sized croc and eat him in a few bites. ;-) Even if T. rex
was the vulture of its time I can see one running off a group of crocs for
that rotting hadrosaur.

Roger A. Stephenson
lightwaves@aol.com

"and she thinks she's the passionate one!"