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Archaeopteryx and alvarezsaurs




T. Mike Keesey wrote:

What's this about _Archaeopteryx_ remains in Portugal? Did I miss
something?

This (I would guess) is based on the _Archaeopteryx_-like teeth from Guimarota.



Darren Naish wrote:

Fond as I am of Nick's suggestion that alvarezsaurids might have been
ant-eaters.. Nick, have you looked at a tarsipedid (honey possum)
skull? Obviously lacks the postcranial specialisations seen in
alvarezsaurids and extant myrmecophagous forms but the skull
morphology is superficially similar.

The idea of the honey-eating alvarezsaurid popped into my head once while I reading about ratels. Big powerful claw on each arm for ripping into wood or hives. Long jaws for probing through the hive for honey and larvae. And long legs for running away from the angry bees... :-)


Bees were certainly around in the Late Cretaceous: _Trigona prisca_ was preserved in amber from New Jersey. The modern stingless bees of the same genus (_Trigona_)build their hives in the hollows of rotting trees. Of course, although I like the idea of tree-climbing maniraptorans, I think arboeal behavior is a stretch for alvarezsaurids. (I know Darren didn't imply that alvarezsaurs were arboreal.) The hive would have to be close to the ground for a _Mononykus_ (or _Parvicursor_) to be able stick its head into. Perhaps alvarezsaurids attacked both termite nests and bee hives.

Groundless speculation, I know...



Tim



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