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Re: Dromeo Danger

I have been bitten by a reticulated python in the left forearm. Nasty for both me and the snake since my instinct was to pull away hard which broke off the teeth. I took antibiotics and the snake got mouth fungus from the damage. He was small being only about 7 feet long so it wasn't a fair fight. I didn't stop to examine the cross section of his teeth though I remember they were pointed to the rear of his mouth so as to make removal of said bitten limb difficult. I bled like a stuck pig. Note to self, don't clean mouse cages before cleaning python cages.

Tokay Geckos are the worse for not letting go. I held one that was attached to me underwater for 10 minutes and he never let go. I ended up using a couple of pencils as leverage. Bad attitude. Fortunately they are only 10 inches long. Varanus species can be big and obnoxious to handling too. Never seen a cuddly one.

Field season is slowly starting on Hell Creek up here. I am starting to get out walking hills already with the oncoming spring and decreasing snow.

Frank (Rooster) Bliss
MS Biostratigraphy
Weston, Wyoming
On Apr 3, 2008, at 6:34 PM, John Scanlon wrote:

Don and all,

Apart from varanids, I have one other example in Recent squamates of
laterally compressed, serrated and recurved teeth. A reticulated python
(Broghammerus(!?!**) reticulatus) obtained by Mike Archer and colleagues
from a restaurant in Sarawak has this condition, though it's certainly not
typical of the species. Like most snakes, pythons normally* have recurved
but more or less conical teeth with smooth cutting ridges (anterolateral and
posteromedial) extending along part of the crown and meeting to create a
blade-like tip. This one specimen has anterior and posterior ridges and the
teeth are laterally compressed from base to tip, the edges not denticulate
as in varanids but slightly 'rippled' which would apparently work as
serrations. Until further examples are known (or I get round to properly
describing this one, at least), no phylogenetic or functional significance
should be attributed.
I've been bitten and (separately) constricted by pythons around 3 m long,
and I've seen a large Varanus varius locked onto somebody's hand (it was
eventually removed with a crowbar, with considerable shedding of blood), so
I can imagine how unpleasant an attack from a serrate-toothed reticulated
python would be.
Even so, no large snake has evolved the ability to sever chunks from
vertebrate prey and eat it piecemeal, and I regard it as possible that
lightly built dromaeosaurs did not do so either, but stuck to prey not much
bigger than their own head, swallowing items whole with the help of
intramandibular kinesis. They look overengineered, but possibly underpowered
for actually dismembering large prey.

*Frazzetta, T.H. 1966. Studies on the morphology and function of the skull
in the Boidae (Serpentes), Part II. Morphology and function of the jaw
apparatus in Python sebae and Python molurus. Journal of Morphology 118:
**Rawlings, L.H., D.L. Rabosky, S.C. Donnellan and M.N. Hutchinson. 2008.
Python phylogenetics: inference from morphology and mitochondrial DNA.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 93: 603-619.
Dr John D. Scanlon, FCD
Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Outback at Isa

"Get this $%#@* python off me!", said Tom laocoonically.

-----Original Message-----
From: don ohmes [mailto:d_ohmes@yahoo.com]
Sent: 03 April, 2008 9:17 AM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Dromeo Danger

As a shy and sensitive type, I've always observed
nearby teeth w/ some interest, and listened carefully.

Serrated teeth say, "Hi, I have to cut my food up
before I eat it, and further, my food is not
necessarily dead when I do so (unlike a lion, for
example). Nor do I spend a lot of time eating bones,
even small ones." When the teeth are serrated AND
recurved, I seem to hear them say, "Whatever part of
you I manage get in my mouth, I will keep. Even if we
part ways, you will leave it behind."

Do you think this hallucination, er, I mean
observation, uh, speculation re behavior is

In the dromeo case, the rear claws are perfect for
providing traction when grabbing a mouthful and
pulling back really hard when attacking a larger
animal (ala Manning et. al).

I've spent a lot of time working on vertical surfaces
(ie, tree trunks), and I can testify that to pull back
(as on a hand saw, or a rope) you MUST have a firm


--- Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:

don ohmes writes:

Heh. I live in a place that has coyotes aplenty. I
hear them several times a week, and can find fresh
scat w/in 100m of the house easily. Unless I work
it, I see ZERO coyotes. On the other hand, I get
attacked by mockingbirds pretty regular, in

Being small, volant, quick and very manouevrable
tends to 'embiggen' the
smallest of creatures. :)

Here in Australia the boldest bird would have to be
the willy wag-tail
(Rhipidura leucophrys) - a tiny insect eater that
will gladly take on a
magpie or a crow (known nest raiders) in single
combat despite mass
diffences of several orders of magnitude. Their
aerial agility makes them
almost immune to reprisals, so most of their victims
don't bother making the
effort anyway.

If willy wag-tails will attack magpies, and magpies
will themselves attack
wedge-tailed eagles (as my mother witnessed in her
own front yard; the
aftermath including a lot of damaged and destroyed
potted plants), then that
would seem to make the willy wag-tail the baddest
mo-fo on the block. Look
upon it's fearsome visage with awe:

Another point; sharks don't necessarily packhunt,
they do tend to gather at the site of a ruckus.

Great Whites have been known to hunt in pairs on occasions, but in many respects they're more like a mammal than a fish. Reef sharks will hunt together in groups, but it's not what you'd call cooperative hunting (more like an angry mob).

BTW -- Sharks are the best extant velociraptor
'tooth-analogue' I know of.
Are there any other candidates?

Monitor lizards come to mind.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist
Melbourne, Australia