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Re: met Novacek- oviraptor questions(mostly)

At 01:23 PM 10/25/96 -0500, Betty Cunningham wrote:

>I wanted to know, since he had worked with the actual animal, what those   
>'teeth-thingies' could possibly be for? (the ones in the back of the roof   
>of the mouth) and he said....someone named (Birnell? Birschnell?)(I   
>regret not taking notes at this point) suggested that the   
>'teeth-thingies' were for crushing molluscs.

Barsbold, as in Barsbold Rinchen, the famous Mongolian dinosaur worker and
inspiration for the name "Barsboldia" (a Mongolia hadrosaur).

>question #1-if this was a desert, what molluscs were present?  

There is always the possibility of snails in alkaline lakes...

>question #2-what is the correct term for the 'teeth-thingies'? 

Palatal prongs?

>     Then on hearing that this guy (B-what-ever) thought they were for   
>crushing molluscs, I asked if there was any wear on them  (cleverly, I   
>thought, since they would not have enamel on them to keep them from   
>wearing), and Mike looked sort of bemused and said "no they didn't have   
>any wear on them"

Also, seeing how lightly built there skulls are, I don't know if
oviraptorids could withstand repeated crushing of medium-shelled molluscs.

>Qestion #4- not Oviraptor related- since both Stegasaurs AND Ankylosaurs   
>have tail spikes, are both species' tail spikes "thagomisers" or is that   
>term saved for only one group?

My preference is to reserve "thagomizer" for the tail weapons of
stegosaurians (the lateroposteriorally directed tail spines), and to use
"tail club" more generally for the bulbous knobs at the ends of the tails of
ankylosaurids and euhelopodids (and other forms).

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661

"There are some who call me...  Tim."
-- Tim the Enchanter, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
---------- subtitle --[Monty Python ik den Holy Grailen]

"Tim?!?  They called me TIM?!?!"
-- Tom the Paleontologist, on seeing "The Ultimate Guide to T. rex" :-)