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Plesiosaurs ate snails and clams


See also the links at the bottom of the page for more Oz fossil stories.


Plesiosaurs ate snails and clams 

This creature could scoop up and eat creatures living on the sea floor,
like snails and clams, as well as catch free-swimming fish and
Scientists have found a seafood feast in the fossilised stomach remains
of two plesiosaurs, long-necked aquatic predators that lived at
the same time as the dinosaurs.

The find suggests these animals had a much more balanced diet than once
thought, which researchers say probably explains why they
survived for so many millions of years.

Australian researcher Professor Stephen Wroe, of the University of
Sydney http://www.usyd.edu.au , and colleagues report their
findings in today's issue of the journal Science
http://www.sciencemag.org/ .
Plesiosaurs are carnivorous reptiles with an unusually long neck.

Those in the elasmosaur family have the longest neck of all, at more
than twice the length of the body and tail put together.

Their large number of relatively small but very sharp teeth are well
suited to grasping slippery and free-swimming fish or squid.

And studies of fossilised gut contents from North American plesiosaurs
suggest this is what they ate.

Scientists just presumed their long necks must have been some kind of
adaptation to catching agile fish and squid, says Wroe.

But the new research has found that the plesiosaur's long neck also
allowed the animal to feed on bottom-dwelling life.

"Their diet is much more balanced that we'd imagined," Wroe says.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://heretichides.soffiles.com
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs