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



On Tue, May 3rd, 2011 at 1:12 PM, Tim Williams <tijawi@gmail.com> wrote:

> The numbat is an example of (1), given the lack of specialization in
> the forelimbs, and its phylogenetic affiliation with dasyuromorph
> marsupials.

Genome sequencing of the thylacine suggests that the numbat may be their 
closest living relative.
http://genome.cshlp.org/content/19/2/213.full.pdf+html

When you compare the two animals there are obvious physical similarities 
(appart from size). They 
even have very similar coat pattens.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3525/3772826419_55d45afe21.jpg (Thylacine)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2344/2225479656_356115d109.jpg (Numbat)

As for their lack of forelimb specialisation, it seems that numbats usually 
feed on termites that nest 
in rotten logs. Their small size probably allows them to poke around inside 
holes already formed in 
the rotting logs, and even if a bit of digging is required it's generally a lot 
easier to excavate 
crumbling rotten wood than it is to make a hole in a concrete-like earthern 
mound. That 
extraordinary tongue of theirs probably means that only a small breach in a log 
is required for 
them to get a meal anyway.

-- 
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Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
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