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South American Theropods (was: Giant Allosauro



I wrote:
<Velocisaurus unicus (Bonaparte, 1991). Formacion Rio Colorado
(Neuquen), (Probably omnivore or insectivore). Known only from a partial
hindlimb with pes almost complete.>

ashapli@erols.com wrote:

<Just curious- how can you tell what it ate from just a partial
hindlimb?>

zooamy@zoo.latrobe.edu.au wrote:

<How can anyone determine the diet of an animal from a partial
hindlimb?>

Very easy: if the partial hindlimb is found in the animal's mouth or
stomach, you can bet it is a carnivore ;-)  (Sorry, I couldnt stop
myself...)

Seriously, I can't, and I think that even Dr. Bonaparte can not know for
sure, it's only a hipothesis based in the comparison with other extant
and extinct better known animals. The key here seems to be the phrase
'with pes almost complete': Dr. Bonaparte wrote: '...the anatomy of the
digits and the tarsal bones sugests a fast runner, PROBABLY not
carnivorous, but more likely omnivore, judging from the morphology of
the ungual phalanges...'(almost SIC, I'm translating from spanish).

Looking at his drawing of the pes, I could observe the IV claw that is
well preserved, showing the following characteristics: relatively long
and slender, with little curvature and laterally compressed. This is
similar to other extant animals which obtain their food scratching or
digging the ground (looks like a tridactyl chicken feet to me!), so we
can assume that insects, worms and/or roots and tubercles were often
present at the V. unicus table.
Anyway, this last is my layman's theory. I'd like to hear (read?) the
opinion of the more knowledgeable people in the list.

best regards,

Oscar Romero