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Re: Theropod eating and attacking

jamolnar@juno.com wrote:
> >Mmm, just a question: Would these "plenty of chew marks" show up on
> >fossils? Is there evidence of this gnawing by herbivores on
> >fossilised bones from the mesozoic? Or would he "dead animals out in
> >the wild" generally be the ones that end up in places where they do
> >not fossilize well (also meaning that the ones that end up in e.g.
> >riverbeds and that do fossilize well aren't gnawed on because these
> >dead animals end up in water)? In other words: would hebivorous
> >dinosaurs (and other mesozoic animals) also have gnawed on the bones
> >of dead animals they found and if they would, is there any evidence
> >of this?
> Good question, but I have no information on this.  Anyone else out there?

In all the cases I've heard of where bones (fossil or otherwise) showed
signs of being chewed, it was recognizably carnivore teeth that did the
chewing.  That could certainly be just an interpretational bias, but I
dunno.  I think taphonomists are better at their work than that.

However, it might be worth pointing out that the currently dominant
group of large herbivorous mammals, the ruminants, would find it
difficult if not impossible to chew and crack bones.  Ruminants don't
have upper incisors, and I don't think they have any canines at all, two
facts that make it very hard for them to bite anything and do damage.  I
also know that ranchers usually put out 'salt blocks' for their cattle,
with the 'salt' being mineral salts, not ordinary sodium chloride.  The
cattle lick the salt blocks, and break down the mineral salts to get the
minerals they need.  

-- JSW