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Re: Theropod eating and attacking

Regarding the (lizard) _Bavarisaurus_ remains found within the Solnhofen
specimen of _Compsognathus longipes_, I wrote that the "relatively pristine
condition of the _Bavarisaurus_ argues against this," (the idea that small
theropods bashed their prey repeatedly on rocks, as roadrunners do, to
break up the bones for easier consumption).

 Ronald Orenstein <ornstn@inforamp.net>wrote: 
> I wonder if the Bavarisaurus could have been, not a part of the
> diet, but either a scavenger or a pursuer of insects scavenging the
> that somehow became trapped in the animal's rib cage and died there.

An interesting idea (that would sure blow holes in commonly held notions of
what happened to _Bavarisaurus_)!  However, I do not believe that the
specimen supports this notion.

When I wrote that the _Bavarisaurus_ is present as being (I should have
said "nearly") complete from the mid-thorax on back, and in "relatively
pristine condition," I was perhaps being a bit too charitable.  I meant to
say that these tiny articulated remains do not show evidence of any serious
fractures.  So I stand by my assertion that the _Bavarisaurus in question
could not have been subjected to such a beating prior to ingestion.  On the
other hand, the exceptionally long caudal series, which appears to be
nearly complete and contains a minimum of 50 segments, goes through four
180 degree bends.  I have a hard time picturing how the late "scavenging"
lizard (from mid-thorax on back) could have been preserved within the ribs
of the _Compsognathus_ in such a relatively excellent state of
articulation, and yet have had the tail bent and broken back and forth
repeatedly if this breakage did not occur inside the theropod's digestive
tract.  You may not be able to discern these details on a cast of
_Compsognathus_ (I can't), but both Baron Nopsca and John  Ostrum (who
studied the original fossil material) have rendered superb illustrations of
the tiny lizard's fossilized remains.

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>

"Colonel Mustard did it in the dining room with a candlestick holder."