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Re: Theropod eating and attacking

Jarno Peschier 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?

        When elephants chew on bones they tend to scatter then about,
which were already lying on the surface to begin with. I doubt such
a scenario would be indusive of fossilization. Most fossilized
creatures tend to be those that are buried rapidly and so avoid
being scattered by scavengers (and herbivores?). Occationally the
marks of theropod teeth may be found, but I beleive this is the
exception rather than the rule (am I wrong?). Mammoth bones are
often chewed on by rodents while buried, since they can burrow down
to the bones. In fact sub-surface remote sensing techniques will
often only detect mammoth remains not by the bones themselves, but
by the infilled burrows of rodents that often run along their
lengths. Apparently the bones are not distinct enough from the
surrounding matrix to be differentiated through a metre or so of soil,
however the lower density burrows (whether hollow or infilled)
occationally are.
        To get back on topic, are the occational teeth marks on
dino bones definitely theropod, or is this just assumed?


        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia