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RE: Forward Pointing Teeth



From:   martin@hpentccl.grenoble.hp.com[SMTP:martin@hpentccl.grenoble.hp.com]

>and I'm not fully convinced that these forward pointing teeth in
>rhamphorhynch _do imply fish eating. I mean, ok you manage to spear
>a fish with your pointy front teeth, but then what? How do you get
>it into your throat from there?  It's effectively prevented from
>descending the gullet by the very design of the teeth! You've got to
>stop, drop it (still wriggling and trying to escape) somehow pick it
>up (in flight, presumably), and then somehow toss it in the air
>maybe, and catch it and swallow it.


A good point, but keep in mind that many wading and diving birds (for
example, herons and anhingas) do just that.   They impale fish on their
beaks, then toss it in the air to catch and swallow.  Their beaks are
quite different from the foward pointing teeth of rhamphorhynchtus, so
this is not an exact analogy, but it does point out a basic problem with
arguing on the basis of something being physically unlikely - namely
that stranger things often happen in extant animals.

Nathan