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Re: Archaeopteryx with bird book, was Re: Archaeopteryx flight
Patrick Norton wrote:
This is speculation, of course, apparently based mostly on similarities in
overall size and wing aspect
ratios and the lack of evidence of gastroliths in Archie (suggesting it may
have been a meat
eater, like the Corvids). It probably couldn't fly as well as crows and
magpies, though, so it's lifestyle had to be somewhat different in that
respect. If gastroliths are found in some future specimen of Archie,
however, this might suggest a different diet as well.
I'm not so sure the presence or absence of gastroliths can be used to infer
diet. Several non-avian theropods have gastroliths, including _Baryonyx_ ,
_Lourinhanosaurus_, _Poekilopleuron_, _Caudipteryx_, _Nqwebasaurus_ and
_Sinornithomimus_. The skull is not known for the carnosaurs
_Lourinhanosaurus_ and _Poekilopleuron, so it is possible (but not likely)
that neither were carnivores; but _Baryonyx_ was certainly carnivorous.
The presence of gastroliths in _Caudipteryx_ were actually cited in support
of insectivory in this critter, using the modern aardwolf (_Proteles
cristatus_) as an analogy.