[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: carnivorous hippos = omnivorous ceratopsians etc

GS Paul <gsp1954@aol.com> wrote:

> Because many ornthischians had sharp beaks, some with anterior teeth,
> and shearing dental batteries there was nothing to prevent them
> from being scavangers like suids. This best applies to ceratoposians
> and especially ceratopsids with their parrot beaks to rip out chuncks of
> flesh and scissor like dental batteries to slice it up. The parrot 
> beaks and in some case horns of ceratopsians would have allowed them to 
> defend carcasses against other scavengers including theropods. 

It's perhaps worth mentioning that in their description of _Muttaburrasaurus_, 
Molnar and Bartholomai (1981) suggested that this ornithopod might have been 
"partially carnivorous".  They based this (among other things) on the 
ceratopsid-like shearing dentition.  They also suggested _M_ might have had an 
expanded adductor jaw musculature for processing flesh, based on the "unusually 
broad post-infratemporal bar".  I'm not sure about that one; but at least it 
shows that the idea of an omnivorous ornithischian has been around for a while.

More recently (and more plausibly) there's the heterodontosaurs, where the 
presence of caniniform teeth might be tied to an omnivorous diet (e.g., Butler 
et al., 2008).

Dan Chure <danchure@easilink.com> wrote:

> What next, omnivorous tryannosaurids?

Hey, I wouldn't be at all surprised! :-)  Considering the way putative 
omnivores or herbivores are popping up all over the non-avian theropod tree 
(e.g., _Limusaurus_, ornithomimosaurs, therizinosaurs, _Incisivosaurus_, maybe 
_Masaiakasaurus_), an omnivorous tyrannosaur might not be so unexpected.  Maybe 
a basal tyrannosaur, rather than a true tyrannosaurid.