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Dino-termites (was: Re: Biggest predators)



>  One item missing from dinosaur life restorations are termite mounds. I just
>thought I'd run that idea up the flagpole as a possible reason for those
>claws. Dan Varner.

As mound-building termites are considered to be more advanced than the
humble wood-chewing variety, my question is whether termite mounds existed
in the Cretaceous?  According to EO Wilson's "The Insect Societies" (1971 -
not recent, but the best thing I have handy) most fossil termites known at
that time only go back to the Eocene, where relatively primitive families
are represented, though a single termite wing was known from the "border
between the Lower and Upper Cretaceous.  This fossil, Cretatermes, belongs
to the living family Hodotermitidae (harvester termites, which live in damp
wood), suggesting an older origin for the group as a whole - but Wilson had
no fossil evidence that advanced mound-building termites (Termitidae) lived
in the Mesozoic, though zoogeographic evidence suggests the family arose no
later than early Cretaceous times (to allow for its dispersal into South
America).  The earliest termitid fossil in Wilson is from the Miocene of
Mexico.

Does anyone have more recent information?
--
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
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