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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.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/03/wasabi-vision

The abstract in Nature:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature08943.html

-- 
_____________________________________________________________

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