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Re: Theropod eating and attacking



Regarding how extant herbivores acquire the calcium they need, Jarno
Peschier wrote:
>...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...
> 
> Jarno Peschier, computer science student, Utrecht University
>    mailto:jpeschie@cs.ruu.nl    http://jarno.home.ml.org/

The January 1994 issue of _National Geographic_ magazine offers an example
for our consideration: parrots.  The article, _Winged Rainbows: Macaws_
opens with a stunning foldout of some of the over 1,000 parrots which are
seen squabbling over choice perches at a "clay lick" on the bank of the
upper Tambopata River in Southeastern Peru.  This 130-foot-high river bank,
composed of gray-pink clay, is visited by more than a dozen species of
parrot every day.  It is one of many such river bank clay lick sites in
Peru.  Apparently, the birds scoop up the clay by the beakful because they
benefit from the salts and minerals it contains.  The clay content is said
to detoxify the macaws, whose diet includes many toxic seeds.  Perhaps
calcium is among the essential minerals the river clays provide.

Regarding theropod eating (that was the topic, wasn't it?), my post on
8/30/97 mentioned the evidence for bone-swallowing in _Compsognathus_,
_Coelophysis_, and _Sinosauropteryx_, so let's not assume theropods shied
away from that sort of thing.  Some (or all) of these meat eaters could
indeed have benefited from the calcium they ingested in the bones of their
prey.

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>