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RE: Segregated vs age-mixed sauropod herds

On Tue, Mar 16th, 2010 at 11:06 AM, John Scanlon 
<riversleigh@outbackatisa.com.au> wrote:

> Dann asked: Is there any way of telling from fossil skulls whether
> these
> snakes had thermal sensing abilities?
> Potentially yes, but we'll have to wait for more detailed
> illustration of
> the maxilla and mandible of _Sanajeh_. But a priori it is not
> expected:
> facial heat-sensory pits have evolved three times (in different
> anatomical
> positions) in pythons, boas, and crotaline vipers, but the EPB for
> basal
> snakes (or basal alethinophidians, _fide_ Wilson et al) implies
> their
> absence in madtsoiids. 

By pure coincidence, a paper in 'Nature' was announced the very day that I 
posted that query.

The research has found that the nocicepter gene TRPA1 is largely responsible 
for the heat-sensing 
abilities of snakes. The gene is involved in thermal, mechanical and chemical 
nociception in various 
species. Humans use it to taste certain spicy foods, like wasabi or mustard.


The abstract in Nature:


Dann Pigdon
GIS Specialist                         Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj