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EGG EATING DOWNUNDA
John Bois argues that small mammals have eaten Cretaceous reptiles
into extinction, yet thinks that Cainozoic reptiles would have avoided
such predation. Ronald Orenstein wrote....
> However, terrestrial or semi-terrestrial crocodiles, though now
> extinct, survived well past the end of the Cretaceous (eg Quinkana
> from Australia).
In response, John Bois wrote...
> A well-respected hypothesis--that Australia is and has been relatively
> depauperate in large carnivorous mammals (Tim Flannery)--may
> keep my hypothesis alive here.
This statement is now about 15 years out of date. Miocene, Pliocene
and Pleistocene Australia was teeming with assorted thylacinids,
thylacoleonids, dasyurids and omnivorous propleopline kangaroos...
among others. The previously unappreciated diversity of Aussie
marsupial predators has in fact been one of the greatest discoveries in
Australian vert palaeo. Also, one could argue that Australia is as much
'land of rodents' as 'land of marsupials': its murid invasion probably
began before the Miocene and there is now a rich murid fossil record
for the continent. I might also mention that bandicoots are
omnivorous, sometimes eating eggs, and that they were far more
diverse and abundant in the past than they are today (which is maybe
correlated with the absence of small dasyurids prior to recent times).
In view of all these mammalian predators, many of which were quite
likely able to eat eggs, why then has Australia also been home to more
than 30 species of large lizard, many large and even gigantic snakes
(including madtsoids - _Wonambi_ was stil around in the Pleistocene),
an assortment of crocodiles, all of which nest on land, egg-laying
monotremes and flightless birds?
John Bois' theory is as redundant and illogical now as it was when he
first started discussing it four years or so ago. Give it up John!
"I am also flora"
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
School of Earth, Environmental & Physical Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
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