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Exactly what is the significance of finding gastroliths in Caudipteryx?
This would seem to be a very important find because combined with the
tooth structure of this animal, it would show that this animal was
herbivorous (or at least omnivorous). Since the authors (Currie et al.)
are calling this animal a theropod, this would prove to be the first
herbivorous theropod? The Ornithomimids are Late Cretaceous.
Now it has long been suspected that the Ornithomimids were omnivorous due
to the lack of teeth but gastroliths have never been found in association
with any of these animals. How does Caudipteryx compare to the
It would seem that this feature could also place Cauditeryx closer to
modern birds than Archeopteryx(loss of teeth, use of gizzard stones).
Currie et al. have placed Caudipteryx in
an unnamed clade just outside of avialae. I do not have a copy of the
character matrix, but what are the three characters stated by the authors
that separate this unnamed clade from avialae? Is it possible that
Caudipteryx could be placed closer to Ornithurae? Of course I'm sure this
would mean Caudipteryx would be secondarily flightless but it is possible.
Just a few musings from an interested amateur.
Northern Arizona University.