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Re: Theropod eating and attacking

On Tue, 2 Sep 1997 09:51:18 +0100 "Jarno Peschier" <jpeschie@cs.ruu.nl>
>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...

Deer are herbivores, and still capable of biting off quite substantial
twigs, even without top front teeth.  If they found bones of a dead
animal lying around, I have no doubt they would try to chew it, if they
needed the calcium.  Several species of deer have been observed eating
the chicks of ground nesting birds, and not just because the chicks were
in the grass. Yuck!

There are rock outcroppings that seem to attract herbivores because of
the minerals in the rock.  They usually lick them or get their minerals
from water that is downstream from these rocks, I imagine.  The
conjectured reason why Saltville, VA is a collecting ground for
mammoth/mastodon bones is because the salt deposit there may have
attracted these herbivores.

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.