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<<I'm obviously missing something here, but can anyone name any bird
that is known to use stones in its *crop* to process food? As I recall,
bird crops are most commonly used to temporarily store food for later
transport to the stomach or for regurgitation to feed offspring. Only in
a relatively few taxa does the crop play any role in gastric digestion
or food processing--although some much more than others. The most
extreme example of that may be the Hoatzin, which has a crop that
essentially replaces the functions of the stomach and gizzard as the
primary organ of digestion--but all without the use of stones (as far as
Not one bird that I know of uses stones in its crop to process food.
The hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) ulitilizes the use of bacteria to
process food in its (huge!) crop. There has been some talk of taking
abstracts of its crop bacteria to cows in its region so the cows can
process the unnatural and often poisonous ruffage.
Anyway, while on the topic of the hoatzin, what does everybody think
about its relations? Is it cuculiform, galliform, musophagid, coliform,
cariamid, or foratid? I currently am stumped as to what it really is.
I used to think it was related to musophagids, foratids, and cuculiforms
but I am no longer convinced of an of the relationships that have been
inferred to it.
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