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I used to think that, in dinosaurs, there might be a tidy correlation
between herbivory and the presence of gastroliths. The _Nature_
communication about ornithomimids intimates this. However, there are
of course extant carnivores (crocs, otariids, predatory birds) that
have gastroliths, plus ant/termite-eaters including _Proteles_.
As some of these animals are amphibious (in otariids, gastroliths, as
in plesiosaurs, might equate with their swimming style (Taylor
1987)), toothless, or are eating chitinous prey that take too long to
masticate, it makes it a bit of a stretch to compare them with
non-avian dinosaurs. HOWEVER, gastroliths have been reported from
predatory theropods including _Poekilopleuron_ (Eudes-Deslongchamps
1838: though Bob Bakker reminded me that a teleosaurid croc was found
nearby this specimen), _Lourinhanosaurus_, _Baryonyx_ and a
tyrannosaurid. David Varrichio discussed the latter at SVP '99: I
think that previous reports have been deemed too dubious to be
Seeing as it's very unlikely that these megalosauroids, spinosauroids
allosauroids and tyrannosaurids were herbivorous, predatory
dinosaurs probably did have gastroliths too. I suppose in some cases
it might be possible that the animals ingested the stones
accidentally though. Gastroliths in _Caudipteryx_ were recently used
as evidence for it possibly being an ant-eater (Garner et al. 1999).
I don't agree with this.
"I love cats... They taste just like chicken"
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