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Re: SVP 2004

On Thu, 09 Dec 2004 09:58:39 -0600, Tim Williams
<twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Mike Keesey wrote:
> >I attended, and actually he showed that the forelimbs look nothing
> >like those of moles. They are, however, *incredibly* like those of
> >anteaters (especially tamanduas, I think?). The difference is that
> >moles push soft dirt from in front of them to the sides, while
> >anteaters rip open hard-packed material
> Fascinating.  The idea of ant-eating (myrmecophagous) alvarezsaurs has come
> up before, including on this list.  I would add that tamanduas and other
> anteaters have quite long forelimbs, whereas those of alvarezsaurs are short
> and stubby.

_Myrmecophaga_ (giant anteater) has pretty long forelimbs, but the
forelimbs of  the semi-arboreal _Tamandua_ aren't all that long. And,
now that I think about it, maybe it was the fully arboreal _Cyclopes_
(silky anteater) that had the most mononykine-like forelimbs. Its
limbs are fairly abbreviated:
(Note that the palms even face inward a bit, as in theropods.)

Of course, the myrmecophagids have forelimbs that are about as long as
their hindlimbs, while the mononykines have very long hindlimbs and
very short forelimbs, so that's a big difference. But if you look at
the forelimbs alone, the similarity in structure is quite striking.