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Inferences from Tooth Wear - A Recent Talk

Paleoecologist Anthony Fiorillo recently gave a talk here at the University
of Wyoming. Altho I did not attend it, I have the local paper's account of it.

According to the account, Fiorillo studies teeth and draws testable
hypothese therefrom about their behavior and coexistence with other species.
This was done by examining the micro wear patterns and biomechanics of
the dinosaur skulls compared with modern animals.

For example, the micro wear of different kinds of deer was compared with
that of two different species of dinosaur plant eaters, diplodocus and
camarasaurus. These two species probably ate different kinds of plants,
which produced differences in micro wear. Hence, they probably didn't
compete strongly for food.

Fiorilla further believes he has the first evidence to support dietary
changes in the camarasaurus' progression from juvenile to adult.

And, for diplodocus, the wear data dispells the notion that it ate
invertebrates, which would have caused more wear than found.

The data would argues against the notion that sauropods were highly
social. Highly social animals show a more varied diet. Sauropod wear
patterns indicate a less varied diet, and so it can be surmised that
they were more like modern giraffes than elephants (socially).

Interesting, but it would seem the evidence of trackways might argue
against non-sociability in sauropods. However, I've
wondered about the food supply if a herd of these living vacuum
cleaners came by. I would imagine the quantity needed by large
numbers would rapidly be consumed. So they would either move a lot
or split up into smaller groups.

+----------+    Rich Travsky   RTRAVSKY @ UWYO . EDU
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