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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.