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Re: Forty years of predation on Serengeti.

Richard W Travsky wrote:
> Just out of curiousity, wouldn't predator teeth show more effects from
> crunching large bones than small ones? Is such usage detectable?

As far as dinosaurs are concerned: It very much depends of whether
theropods regularly bit down on bone or not. I suspect most species with
thin, blade-like teeth avoided contact with bone. Even those species
that didn't mind a bit of crunch in the diet may not show much wear, if
their tooth replacement rate was faster than that of other theropods (to
compensate for the faster rate of wear).

I can't comment on mammalian teeth though. I suspect it would depend on
the shape of the teeth, and how long a predator lives. Short-lived
predators may not live long enough for significant wear to occur. Old
Tasmanian devils in captivity show extreme tooth wear, yet in the wild
they rarely live for more than a few years (stress from fighting over
food usually gets them). And some mammals deliberately avoid contact
with bone, so the size of their prey may not matter one iota (even the
oldest of thylacines had almost pristine teeth - they only ate soft


Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/