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Re: Suchomimus prey?

Christopher Srnka wrote:
> I don't remember if anyone has brought this up or suggested it, so if
> they have, please forgive me...There was some speculation about
> Suchomimus eating termites or other types of insects, right? But the big
> question was, how could such a large animal sustain itself on as an
> insectivore? (This is in reference to the speculation about the purpose
> of the large arms and hand claws being similar to that of an anteater)
>      Would it have been possible that larger burrowing animals were
> Suchomimus' prey? I mean, rather than insects, perhaps some small or
> medium sized burrowing vertebrates? Are any known from Suchomimus' time
> and locality? Is this even plausible?

Personally, I suspect that spinosaurids' thumb claws were for defense
rather than gathering prey. Modern crocs often snap each others upper
or lower jaws completely off, and I suspect that the even narrower
(relatively, perhaps even absolutely) jaws of spinosaurs were probably
not built for attacking (or defending against) other predators of
similar size (or each other). Hence the large size of spinosaurids
(making a more imposing sight) and their over-sized thumb claws
may have detered attack from other predators in order to save them
having to risk their specialised snouts from damage. Perhaps the 
vertebral sails also helped to bluff other animals (cats arch their
backs to make themselves look bigger, frilled dragons use their
neck frills for bluff alone).

Once again, speculation at its best... hard science, where are you? :)

        Dann Pigdon
        GIS Archaeologist
        Melbourne, Australia

        Australian Dinosaurs: