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RE: Regarding Spinosaurus

Steve Brusatte wrote:

>In response to HP Williams' idea that the best way to test this
>hypothesis is to find a "naked" spinosaurid snout: first of all, as he
>alluded, finding this type of integument will likely be very difficult


(And the entire head would be naked, not just the snout.  Strictly speaking,
all birds have "naked" snouts, since their not covered with feathers.)

>However, even if it were to be found, a naked spinosaurid is not a
>foolproof way to "prove" Graydon's hypothesis.  

A naked-headed spinosaur would "corroborate" (the word I used) the idea of a
mode of life that involved scavenging and/or sticking your head inside the
rib cage of a carcass.  Yucky business, and it's good not to foul any more
feathers than are necessary.  (The naked heads and legs of certain vultures
do serve an additional purpose in thermoregulation; the legs are often
whitewashed with urea for evaporative cooling.)

>Of course, there are many other imaginable
>scenarios that may explain why the snout would be naked (even a
>fish-catching adaptation, such as the use of a naked snout for better
>aerodynamic properties in water, may be feasible).  

I suppose this would be "hydrodynamic".  ;-)

>I still think that
>the best method by which to test this is to compare the spinosaurid
>skulls and dentition to modern forms that perform similar methods of

Then we come back to crocs and piscivory.