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Re: sauropod killers



Richard W Travsky <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>wrote:

> On Sun, 2 Apr 2000, Larry Dunn wrote:
> > [...]
> > As an aside, I'm intrigued by the notion that some
> > theropods may have eaten by stealing bites out of live
> > sauropods rather than killing, then eating them, a
> > daunting proposition to be sure when your prey laughs
> > at an elephant's small size.  Has anyone proposed
> > this?
>
> Don't some whales show scares from shark enocunters?
>
    The sharks involved are a specialised family known collectively as
"cookie cutters". They use rubbery lips to create a vacuum against their
victim's skin, then a set of interlocking teeth like a picket fence slices
out a neat chunk of flesh. (They've also been known to taste the paint of
nuclear subs!) Other fish practice this sort of lifestyle as well. Two that
come to mind are; the sabretooth blenny, whose color and behavior mimic the
cleaner wrasse, and an African cichlid affectionately known as "the Malawi
scaleripper". I don't know of any extant tetrapods which exhibit this
behavior, although I have heard that tickbirds occasionally snack on bits of
loose flesh of injured animals. Then again, I'm not aware of any living
animals combining the remarkably large bodies and small brains of sauropods,
either!
    I did once hear a theory that a "missing footprint" in the Glen Rose
trackway might have been caused by the theropod leaning over to take a bite,
and being dragged a step, but I don't know how accurate this picture is.
            B.

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