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Re: Mononykus



One could argue that a digging Mononykus could have squatted down and could have
moved its head into position by a flexible neck, but wouldnÕt there have been a 
pretty steady evolutionary pressure to shorten the neck?  If the mani were used 
for digging wouldnÕt they be more shovel-like, or at least rather more like an 
adz?  In digging for roots or bulbs, the grasping function of the mani would 
come in handy (forgive the play on words): it would need to pull the roots and 
bulbs from the earth.  Pigs, who were already stuck with hooves, find themselves
forced to use their snout, a technique which greatly affects the form of this 
anatomic feature.  

Could the mani have evolved from the practice of pulling bark off the base of 
trees to eat insects?  Originally the practice could have been executed by the 
use of single long claws on each manus which in time evolved to what we might 
now consider ridiculous proportions.  Admittedly the pursuit of insects living 
under bark is better done by arboreal animals (or by birds such as woodpeckers),
but an arboreal animal could not evolve mani like those of Mononykus and still 
hope to navigate in the trees.  Nor would most tree dwelling insectivores, whose
arboreal lifestyle affords them protection from terrestrial predators, find 
themselves specializing in the pursuit of insects at the very place where they 
are most vulnerable.  

Does a study of the mouth and dentition (if any) of Mononykus suggest that they 
could not have been an insectivore or omnivore with insects featured heavily in 
its diet?