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Re: dino-lice

On 4/18/2011 6:23 PM, Dann Pigdon wrote:
Who needs to pierce hide when you've got a narrow head and long neck, and 
nature has provided
a ready-made access chute for reaching the intestines? Some of the smaller 
vulture species that
lack the strength to pierce hide opt for the sphincter option.

I've always wondered whether alvarezsaur forelimbs were attrophied from general 
lack of utility
(as in Carnotaurus), with the only function left being that of intraspecific 
kangaroo-style wrestling

Perhaps the alvarezsaurids habitually foraged inside large carcasses for various edibles such as maggots, insects, and smaller vertebrates. A sauropod would make a rather large and relatively long-lasting cave (i.e., 2 or 3 months, given appropriate climate) once the viscera had been eaten/decomposed, and the "walls" would be replete w/ goodies.

Possums in SE USA sometimes forage inside carcasses large enough to crawl into, and even appear to "move in" something large like a dead cow as long as it provides shelter (personal observation).

In such a case, the cursorial adaptations would be convenient traveling between carcasses, night-adapted eyes would be useful in the dark recesses of the sauropod abdominal cavity, and the "short powerful arms" might be very handy while worming into, and around in, various nooks and crannies inside a carcass. Even the 'prokinetic jaw' of Shuuvia might be adaptive in such an environment.

This would logically speak against elaborate feathers, though.

Which reminds me -- anyone doubting the problems faced by paleo-artists in choosing a "look" for a given animal should google "bald bear"...