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Cheekless and lipless dinosaurs...
Just read an article in my local newspaper about a paper presented in
Utah by Larry Witmer, an anatomist at Ohio University. According to the
article, Witmer claims carnivorous dinos didn't have lips, but rather
scales covering the teeth, as in modern lizards. He also says "We have a
very mammalized view of the world. We're mammals, and we have cheeks,
and cows and sheep and horses have cheeks. And so we see dinosaurs as
being very similar to that. But today we have herbivorous reptiles and
birds, and none of these guys have cheeks." The article goes on to say
that Witmer feels that herbivorous dinos had extended beaks, like eagles
or turtles, and there is an accompanying illustration of a Leptoceratops
depicting a very odd-looking beak on the dino. Because of the lack of
"cheeks" in the illustration, the dino appears to be grinning, and the
beak covers the whole of the lower jaw and portions of the upper jaw.
Has anyone else heard about this paper (apparently it was just
presented yesterday)? Witmer claims that the scientists he has explained
this to have been "very convinced".
Wouldn't the lack of cheeks present some problems in drinking water,
among other things?