[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Sauropod stones

On June 4th, Darren Naish wrote:

>Well, as I understand it, Gillette says that sauropods stored stones
in two places - in their crop (located at base of neck) and in their
gizzard. Apparently the taphonomy of _Seismosaurus_ shows that the
stones burst from both locations during decomposition.<


>It has been implied that the 'choking' stone was found in the crop or   
cranial to it.<

I think there are at least 3 equally likely explanations for the   
"choking" stone that do not require the novel explanation that stones   
were stored in the crop of sauropods (assuming they even had a crop.)

1) The stone actually was ingested by the Seismosaur, stuck in its throat   
and choked it to death.  I think this is the least likely scenario, for a   
number of reasons. For one, the esophagus of living animals with gizzards   
(which this creature apparently had) is typically remarkably   
elastic--particularly in animals that consume large, rough or irregular   
food. An exception to this is the graminivorous birds, which usually have   
a narrower and less elastic esophagus. Given the likely food sources of   
the Seismosaurs, I would expect it to have a wide and very elastic   

2) The stone was never ingested and was simply in the proximity of the   
animal by random chance. Techniques such as Darren mentioined (analysis   
by light scattering)--that can apparently discriminate between biological   
and geological causes of abrasion--would be very useful in answering this   
question; or

3) The stone was a gizzard stone that was displaced after death.