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Re: Beaks

Original Message by Nicholas Jainschigg
Sunday, 22 December 2002 03:32

> I'm not saying that beaks account for birds' life spans, merely that they
> make adaptive sense in a longer-lived organism, and may contibute to
> adaptive success. I remember seeing an article that suggested that the
> proximate cause of a lot of large-cat mortality was dental difficulty,

You're talking of mammals. All other vertebrates replace their teeth 
constantly, not just once in life. There's one known ichthyosaur tooth with 
caries. :-)

Besides, most pterosaurs kept their teeth, often having pretty big ones. I 
think Neornithes simply began with a diet that gave an advantage to a 
toothless beak and could not get teeth back in their following radiation.