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Re: AMPHIBIOUS MOSASAURS?



In a message dated 99-03-02 08:32:36 EST, you write:

<< 
 As for the kelp forest thing, this is something I admittedly took 
 some liberty with. It's actually a kind of Bakkerian idea - in his 
 1992 paper on plesiosaur extinction cycles, he talks about black 
 shales being evidence of massive organic content in the 
 mid-continental seas, and then correlates the abundance of mosasaurs 
 with this environment. >>

  If I'm not mistaken, I don't believe shale is a kind of aquatic coal, ...or
is it? Is there a geologist in the house? Help!
  I believe that a large elasmosaur (well-known from the Pierre Shale) would
have great difficulty negotiating a kelp bed. Its short-necked relative,
Polycotylus, would also find kelp a barrier with long limbs at right angles to
the body.
  As for mosasaurs as "ambush" predators, I don't know. I'll have to discuss
this with Judy Massare sometime soon. The problem here is that the predatory
equipment of mosasaurs went beyond sight alone. Mosasaurs certainly possessed
the Jacobson's Organ, and, much like snakes (their close relatives), could
track their prey by "taste" alone. Mosasaurs also had other sensory means of
locating prey that will be discussed in the future. As a modern analog, the
Komodo Dragon is certainly a fine example of an ambush predator. But, then
again, it doesn't have to hold its breath! Dan Varner.