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Re: Alvarezsaur spurs (was Re: dino-lice)



Hey, thanks! That is really high praise. I appreciate it.

I felt very rushed on that job and I look back at some of the plates that
needed more work (or needed to be started over) and I wince.

But I did want to accomplish one thing, which was to make their feathering
look plausible and natural. Your compliment, therefore, is the best one I
could possibly get.

Back to alvarezsaurid feeding, briefly.

When I looked at dorsal views of Shuvuuia (MGI 100/1001) next to the
Myrmecobius one on Digimorph I felt, subjectively, that there was an
uncanny convergence of the superficial skull shape.

http://www.digimorph.org/specimens/Myrmecobius_fasciatus/

They seem to have converged on a wine bottle - shaped skull with a 
slender, tubular, snout. The hyoids in both Shuvuuia skulls also seem
specialized. Even the preorbital ossification (prefrontal/ectethmoid)
seems to be shoving the orbits back and making them face laterally, as we
see in anteaters (http://www.digimorph.org/specimens/Orycteropus_afer/).
Do you agree with my impressions, or am I getting carried away?

Though, as a rule, bird tongues are different from mammalian ones,
alvarezsaurs seem to break some rules. I would not be shocked if the soft
tissue anatomy of their tongues had adaptations as unique as the skeletal
adaptations of their arms.

Until Varricchio described Oryctodromeus we might have said "non-avian
dinosaurs didn't dig burrows" but now there is a probable exception to
that rule.

One of my fellow students in High School told me he hated Biology and
preferred Physics, because every rule in Biology has exceptions, while
none of the rules in Physics do.