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Re: Eating a Nautilus (attn: Gothgrrl)
At 10:38 PM 11/15/97 +0000, you wrote:
>Just slightly off topic for a change.
>Did Mosasaurs and Pliosaurs eat nautiloids whole? Did they crack them
>open with their jaws? Did stomach muscles crush the shells? Does the
>fossil record help with these questions?
>Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com
>Dear Larry, I can't answer your question as far as Pliosaurs are concerned.
I am not aware of any ammonite shells with bite marks that can be attribited
to those plesiosaurs. Remember that the shells are made of calcium carbonate
and are easily dissolved by the stomach acids.
The mosasaurs are another matter, however. Their bites are conspicuous on
numerous specimens of ammonites, indicating that the animal was removed from
the shell. Prognathodon is a prime suspect when it comes to this behavior. A
new specimen is nearing completion in the prep stages at the South Dakota
School of Mines and Technology. The skull is massive with very robust teeth.
The European species, Prognathodon solvayi, has very protrusive teeth in the
premax that seem to be perfectly formed as an escargot fork.
Globidens, of course, is the mosasaurian bivalve-eater (we think). Another
SDSMT specimen may have stomach contents,so stay tuned. Interestingly,
Prognathodon and Globidens are very closely related. See Gorden Bell's
article in Nicholl's and Callaway's _Ancient Marine Reptile_ volume.