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Not exactly dinosaurs but probably of interest to most on the list



My apologies if this abstract has already been posted
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-Kent
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Paleobiology 35(4):525-552. 2009 
doi: 10.1666/0094-8373-35.4.525
Komodo monitor (Varanus komodoensis) feeding behavior and dental function 
reflected through tooth marks on bone surfaces, and the application to 
ziphodont paleobiology
Domenic C. D'Amorea and Robert J. Blumenschineb
aGraduate Program in Ecology and Evolution, Rutgers, The State University of 
New Jersey, 14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901 
domdam@eden.rutgers.edu 
bCenter for Human Evolutionary Studies, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers, 
The State University of New Jersey, 131 George Street, New Brunswick, New 
Jersey 08901-1414 
Abstract
Most functional interpretations of ziphodont dentition are based on limited 
morphometric, behavioral, and taphonomic studies, but few are based on 
controlled observations of a modern ziphodont consumer. The purpose of this 
study is to determine through controlled feeding observations if the behaviors 
indicative of a ziphodont consumer are reflected by tooth marks left on bone 
surfaces by Varanus komodoensis, the Komodo monitor. We document feeding 
behavior, expand upon dental function, and correlate these aspects with tooth 
mark production. We also discuss the significance and limits of applying these 
data to fossil assemblages.
Goat carcasses were fed to 11 captive individuals. V. komodoensis modifies bone 
surfaces extensively. Individuals exhibit a âmedial-caudal arcâ when 
defleshing, followed by inertial swallowing. Bone crushing was not observed. 
The vast majority of tooth marks are scores, with pits being significantly less 
common. Tooth furrows and punctures are rare. âEdge marksâ are produced on flat 
elements. Marks are elongate and narrow, with variable lengths and curvature. 
Over one-third of the marks occur within parallel clusters. Striations are 
evident on 5% of all marks.
Both feeding behavior and tooth marks indicate that ziphodont crowns are ideal 
for defleshing by being drawn distally through a carcass. C
ts are acquired through swallowing. Mark production is a by-product of the 
distal crown movement during the flesh removal process. Scores are the 
consequence of apical dragging. Edge marks and striated scores result 
respectively from distal and mesial carinae contact. Mark curvature is the 
consequence of arcing motions. Parallel clusters may result from repetitive 
defleshing strokes and/or from multiple crown contacts during a stroke.
These observations can be used to draw functional, behavioral, and taphonomic 
interpretations from fossil assemblages. When they are provisionally applied to 
theropod tooth marks, similar crown function and defleshing behavior with 
little bone crushing is apparent. Differences occur concerning mark frequency 
and curvature, relating potentially to taphonomic biases and rostral motion, 
respectively.
Paleobiology 35(4):525-552. 2009 
doi: 10.1666/0094-8373-35.4.525