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> On Apr 22, 2011, at 1:12 PM, Anthony Docimo wrote:
>> > > I'm convinced that the forelimbs of alvarezsaurids were used for
>> > > *something*, and that *something* was associated with diet. After
>> > > all, the forelimbs weren't THAT small. Reduced though they were, they
>> > > certainly extended well beyond the body wall. Plus, the arms were
>> > > operated by a powerful musculature. I'm just not convinced the
>> > > forelimbs were used for digging into termite-mounds or ant-nests.
>> > >
>> > Can you name one extant vertebrate that has undergone an extreme reduction
>> > of a limb or any other body part in its evolutionary lineage, in which
>> > that body part played an important role in feeding?
>> you mean like how the feet and teeth of sauropods kept getting simper and
>> more basic, even while the rest of the body got bigger and bigger to eat
> I said extreme reduction, meaning in size, from the ancestral state. I don't
> think sauropod feet are so much smaller than prosauropod feet. No, I don't
> mean like that, as I don't think anyone has suggested a locomotory function
> for alvarezsaur arms. I don't think any sauropods are edentulous, but some
> animals of course are, and this indicates that their teeth stopped being
> important in feeding.
> Others on DML have suggested that alvarezsaur pectoral limbs reduced in size
> to 4cm because they needed to perform some very small-scale handiwork in
> order to feed. I asked for an example of that in an extant animal.
>> > In other words, when a lineage of animals undergoes extreme reduction in a
>> > body part, isn't that body part usually becoming LESS pivotal in survival
>> > rather than more?
>> has anyone figured out what Oviraptors were eating with their two teeth?
> Extant, please.
>> > It is also possible that the human tailbone was used to tear open termite
>> > mounds, as it projects as far from the sacrum as alvarezsaurid arms
>> > projected from their sterna. The humans just sat on the termite mounds,
>> > and their coccyx tips probed for openings, then flaked off the concrete -
>> > hard matrix,
>> and when alvarezsaurs were alive, were termite mounds concrete-hard yet?
>> (did you already answer that? if you did, i missed it)
> I'm not a paleoentomologist, but I'm also not the guy who compared
> alvarezsaur olecranons to those of modern anteaters. If mesozoic termite
> mounds were soft, then why did alvarezsaurs need anteater - like olecranons?
> If they were hard, the why did they need 4cm pectoral limbs instead of full -
> sized ones like anteaters?
> Jason Brougham
> Senior Principal Preparator
> American Museum of Natural History
> (212) 496 3544
Senior Principal Preparator
American Museum of Natural History
(212) 496 3544