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Re: Mollusk eating (was Re: Sauropod necks????)

Renato Santos (dracontes@hotmail.com) wrote:

<This begs the question: is there any evidence of malacophagy (I think that is
the term) in Mesozoic land vertebrates, specially dinosaurs? What I am looking
for in this is not enigmatic mandibles such has oviraptorosaurians' but cracked
shells or signs of those being opened forcibly either by teeth or claw.>

  The terms I'm familiar with are molluscivory and durophagy, associated with
eating of shellfish and general eating of hard-shelled organisms, relatively.
While most animals that eat hard-shelled objects (including eggs and nuts)
process the shells with their jaws in one manner or another, a few such as
raccoons or seaotters, will use other implements to break the shell. Raccoons,
for example, may use their paws to open the shell. Parrots have developed their
robust pterygoid flanges (on par with crocs' per size of the skull) and large
secondary palates as an adaptation to eating hard-shelled nuts.

  Exemplary mollusk feeding is known in walrus, wherein the vaulted roof of the
mouth provides an area for water inflow to bring shelled food during suction,
though the walrus does not crush the shell in its mouth. Other feeders on
mollusks tend to be marine or otherwise aquatic, such as crabs and drilling
shellfish which penetrate just one part of the shell and begin to divest the
mollusk of its remains. Most other durophages have expanded secondary palates
and jaw muscles you couldn't shake a stick at.

  I hope this helps,


Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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