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Re: Theropod eating and attacking

Jarno Peschier wrote:
> On  1 Sep 97 at 23:16, Jonathon Woolf wrote:
> > 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.
> The same is often true for horses in stables and for pet rabbits for
> instance. They also get mineral blocks to lick for the minerals they
> need. In the wild these blocks are not available, so all these
> animals must get their minerals from some other source in the wild.
> If it's not gnawing on found bones, then what might it be? Minerals
> from the soil? The normal wildlife diet? Interesting problem...

I think Blue Rider got it right: natural salt licks.  Either they get
the necessary minerals from the plants they eat, or they get them from
salt licks.  

Interesting thought here: maybe the limited supply of these minerals is
one of the controlling influences on populations of large herbivores. 
For sure, a mineral deficiency is a lot harder to escape than a pathogen
is -- if you don't get the mineral, you get the deficiency disease, no
two ways about it.  Animals with deficiency diseases are no longer
performing up to par, so they become favored targets of predators.

-- JSW