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DIGGING MONONYKIDS



Hi everyone. 

I don't seem to have any recent emails from dino-l, so I dunno if the list is
up and running. Blame my cluttered mailbox on my absence, my absence on the
ichthyosaur dissertation (yes, I got it done) and the Fortean Times
UnConvention. Yes, the Lake Dakataua animal is an Indopacific croc.. Anyway..

Most of us have heard or read the suggestion that _Mononykus_ was a digger, and
a few have opined that this seems very unlikely in view of the animals gracility
- long neck and legs especially. I don't know what I make of all this, but I
would like everyone to know that there is an extant wader, the Crab plover, that
does a fair bit of proper digging. 

Crab plovers, as the name suggests, tackle crabs (unlike Crabeater seals and,
to a degree, Crabeater mongooses) and have hefty, robust beaks. But they also
have the long charadriiform legs and neck. They nest and rear young (a single
one I think) in long tunnels (up to 3 m or so long) which they dig with their
beaks. So the long-legged, long-necked bauplan we also see in _Mononykus_ isn't
such a hindrance. Having said that, the Crab plover *is* digging with the beak,
rather than the forelimbs. Hmm..

Just don't mention the words McGowan, Riess, Martill, prokaryote mat, sclerotic
ring or pectoral fin to me. I've had enough of that thanks.

Snakes with legs! Co-ol.

"If you only knew the power of The Dark Side"

DARREN NAISH