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Here you suggest that a bare neck and head might correlate with scavenging.
I am skeptical of that idea. I've heard it before in paleo circles but I
have a few questions.
First, cassowaries, turkeys, and wood storks all have bare heads and necks
and none are scavengers. Has anyone demonstrated a correlation between
bare - headedness and scavenging?
Second I wonder about the functional inference. Why don't coyotes, skunks,
wolverines, hyenas, and tasmanian devils suffer from fouling of their face
and neck fur? Why don't ravens and caracaras?
Last, in Shuvuuia and Mononykus, don't the myriad tiny teeth that lack
individual sockets, and which are set together in an alveolar groove, look
different from what we'd expect in a scavenger?
> The integument might provide some clues, if sufficiently preserved.
> Vultures and the marabou have a naked head and neck; plumage is fouled
> by blood and gore. If we found an alvarezsaur specimen that had
> plumage over most of the body, but absent from the neck and head, it
> could indicate scavenging habits in life. Ditto for a pterosaur.
> An alvarezsaur preserved in situ with its head and neck inserted deep
> into the back end of a sauropod torso.... well that would help. Along
> the lines of the _Velociraptor_-_Protoceratops_ "Fighting Dinosaurs"
> tableau from the Gobi. Though the mind boggles what inventive
> captions one could come up with for the alvarezsaur-sauropod