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Re: paleontolgist, dinosaur
From: Nick Longrich <longrich@phoenix.Princeton.EDU>
> Someone on this list (wagner?) was noting how common these guys
> were, and someone at SVP noted the same. If they were carnivores, they
> were certainly turning predator-prey ratios on the head,...
I wouldn't be so sure of that, small vertebrates and insects can be
quite abundant, and can support a considerable biomass of predators.
[Think lizards and shrew/mouse sized mammals].
Still, an omnivorous diet is not out of the question either.
> and you can see that the hand is built so that the
> metacarpal of the thumb is MUCH longer relative to the rest, so that it
> actually matches them. This means that all three digits can flex together
> (like our digits 2-4) and while this might be good if it were using the
> hands to hook branches, it would seem a pretty poor design for grasping
> mammals. Some degree of herbivory at least, sounds possible.
This is a good point.
Those arms were adapted for grasping *something*, and probably
not prey animals.
[Note, modern _Struthio_ manages to eat lizards and such without
useful arms at all, so it is quite reasonable to suggest that any
hunting the ornithomimids did was done solely with the beak].
The peace of God be with you.