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Re: Theropod eating and attacking

jamolnar@juno.com wrote:
> On Sun, 24 Aug 1997 08:15:14 -0700 Jonathon Woolf <jwoolf@erinet.com>
> writes:
> >jamolnar@juno.com wrote:
> >>
> >> Birds of prey and owls will regurgitate undigestible parts of their
> >prey
> >> in pellets.  Some are capable of digesting small bones.  Fish-eating
> >> birds usually have strong stomach acids and gizzards and digest fish
> >> bones, but a few also regurgitate pellets.  Theropods may have done
> >> either.  I wonder how one could tell from fossils which method they
> >were
> >> using?
> >
> >I have a vague impression from somewhere that fossilized owl pellets
> >have been found.  I've never heard of "dinosaur pellets," though.
> >Coprolites, yes, but not pellets.
> Owl pellets fossilize? Really? Cool!  If so, that's a good point.  But
> maybe dino pellets were not recognized as pellets and mistaken for
> coprolites?  Or perhaps there is a preservational bias against dinosaur
> pellets?
> Judy Molnar
> Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
> vlmed@juno.com
> jamolnar@juno.com
> All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.

There is another possiblity. Many modern birds of prey tease their
own pellets apart for nest lining. Perhaps small dinosaurs also
did the same. Pellets in general tend to be fairly fragile things,
and there are all manner of insects and the like that just love
to feast on them while they are still fresh. I would expect
fossilized examples to be quite rare, and for that rarity to
increase exponentially the further back you go.

        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia