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Re: Mononykus

At 05:51 AM 4/16/97 -0500, you wrote:
>One could argue that a digging Mononykus could have squatted down and could
>moved its head into position by a flexible neck, but wouldnÕt there have
been a 
>pretty steady evolutionary pressure to shorten the neck?

Always a drawback (for me, at least) for the fossorial Mononykus theory.

>If the mani were used 

Incidentally, the plural of manus is manus (with a long 'u').

[the rest of the stuff deleted, but that doesn't mean I disagree with you...]

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

The snout of Mononykus has not been formally described at present, but it
looks sort of birdy/ornithomimidy (whoa, Tom, watch out for that technical
jargon... ;-).  The teeth are simple, without serrations.  My interpretation
that, like many of the Asiamerican coelurosaurs, was that it evolved away
from strict hypercarnivory into some other mode of feeding.  Among the
possible other food items might be: insects and other invertebrates (worms,
centipedes, etc.); small fish (a problem for a desert animal!); plants;
eggs.  As to which, if any, of these might have been the additional food is
difficult to say for now, to say the least!

Hope this helps.

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