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Re: T. rex's vision as SUPPORT for scavenging activitiy...

Er, why "small and unimposing"? Big boys like a free lunch too.

Just for the record, I agree that "pure" predator or scavenger isn't a likely 
state of being. I've read that (some Mexican) rattlesnakes eat carrion, and I 
know turkey buzzards will kill when the opportunity arises. I even saw _wild 
turkey_ listed as a predator of Eastern Diamondbacks (!?!) on an apparently 
reliable university webpage.

But there are those useful if fuzzy lines between "obligate", "opportunistic", 


----- Original Message ----
From: Phillip Bigelow <bigelowp@juno.com>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Sent: Monday, July 3, 2006 10:19:23 AM
Subject: Re: T. rex's vision as SUPPORT for scavenging activitiy...

On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:40:15 -0500 Tim Williams
<twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com> writes:

> Considering the sheer bulk of many dinosaur carcasses around in the 
> Jurassic 
> and Cretaceous, scavenging seems like too good a niche to pass up.  
> Of 
> course, it helps to have a strong digestive system.

The most parsimonious hypothesis is that if: 1) you were a meat-eating
theropod, with; 2) sharp blade-like teeth and; 3) were very small and
unimposing, then you were probably an opportunistic scavenger in addition
to being a predator.

The corrolary to the above is that nearly all small theropods (including
many Mesozoic birds) fall into that category.  And if the beaked
varieties, such as ornithomimids, were indeed omnivorous, then they, too,
may have had a hard time passing up a free steak dinner (I wonder what
keratinous beak marks would look like on fossil bone?  Can they be
distinguished from claw marks and tooth marks?  If the taphonomic effect
of beak-on-bone hasn't been studied yet, it would make a neat senior
thesis or if expanded, a totally cool Masters thesis).

But in general, I have found this whole "pure scavenger vs. pure
predator" debate to be begging unnecessary questions.