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Re: Re. Judy Molnar's note, Tryannosaur Gastroliths?... (2/17/98 3:22 AM)

At 11:25 AM 2/17/98 -0500, Ray Stanford wrote:

>    Incidentally, I read somewhere (great reference, huh?!) that crocs (or
was it alligators, or both?) carry gastroliths 'for ballast'.  Not being
Paul Willis or a croc expert at all, I wonder: (1), Do crocs really have
gastroliths?, and; (2), Is or isn't the ballast interpretation a valid one?
[Presuming the answer to question (1) is yes.]

Crocs do carry gastroliths, and not just for ballast!  Radiographic studies
in the 1970s showed that they aid in the digestion of meat (break up small
bones in things like rats).

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661