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Beaks



As someone who shares his home with a theropod (grey-cheeked parakeet), I've
had a fair amount of experience observing the difference between beak and
tooth (sometimes from the receiving end). The differences in weight are
certainly dramatic, but another difference which was not mentioned is that
of regrowth/decay. Most mammals with any kind of omnivorous diet develop
worn and/or decayed teeth relatively early and this certainly affects
competitiveness and mortality rates, whether from inability to eat or
through localized infection. Beaks don't rot, they grow, like fingernails,
and are constantly honed to usable shape and sharpness through use. Many
birds live to extreme old ages compared to mammals of comparable body-mass,
and I coould certainly see the advantages of a beak over teeth under the
combined circumstances of lighter weight and a resistance to decay.