From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of SCHMIDT
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 9:41 PM
> Just a few questions I have after seeing what I think was a very good, more accurate show then WWD
> 1. Is there really evidence that Megatherium and its relatives scavenged flesh occasionally?
None that I have heard of (and I would not consider the jaws or teeth of sloths to be particularly well suited for dealing with meat). Also, neither of the living sloths (which bracket at least some of the "ground sloths" phylogenetically, although I'm not certain of the position of megatheriids) are meat scavengers, as far as I know.
I THINK this may have been a compromise on the part of the producers between the standard herbivorous model, and Farina's model of the predatory Megatherium.
> 2. If Basilosaurus used its legs as claspers why do modern whales not require them?
Because modern whales are much smoother operators... Okay, modern whales demonstate that claspers are not necessary, but it is true that Basilosaurus still had small hindlimbs with apparently functional joints. I don't know of any reason why they might not be used for this purpose, and various other marine vertebrates have various pelvic claspers. However, there is no direct evidence that they were used in this fashion.
> 3. Is there still great debate over whether Gastornis was herbivorous or carnivorous or has a semi consensus
> been reached?
I've not aware that Andors ever replied to the work of Witmer and Rose (supporting carnivorous gastornithids) (if someone knows of a ref., I'd love to see it). To my knowledge, most paleos favor a carnivorous diet for Diatryma (aka Gastornis with a cowboy accent), and thus by inference Gastornis as well.