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Re: Forty years of predation on Serengeti.

Richard W Travsky wrote:
> On Sat, 27 Sep 2003, Dann Pigdon wrote:
> > 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).
> In that regard (mammalian teeth) I was thinking of hyenas, which will
> eat everything but the oink (as the saying goes). 

Tas.devils eat EVERYTHING except for the tooth-bearing parts of the jaw,
and a few tufts of hair. In the 'old days' they probably scavenged from
thylacine kills (since 'tigers' ate only selected soft tissues). These
days the motor car has replaced the thylacine in this respect - in devil
country, you have to be quick if you want to collect road kill.

> But I don't know if
> their teeth show wear patterns from crunching bone.

I suspect that hyaena society is similar to that of Tas.devils, in that
it is so stressful that animals probably don't live to a ripe old age.
Both species seem to feed in a free-for-all, with the strongest getting
the most food. Their social graces are also equally lacking.

If Tas.devils show wear on their teeth, and given they have the
strongest jaw muscles of any animal relative to their size, then I
suspect that hyaena teeth would also eventually wear out - in the
unlikely event that they live long enough for it to happen.


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