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Re: Velociraptor scavenged azhdarchid pterosaur

On Sun, March 4, 2012 6:47 pm, Habib, Michael wrote:
> Parrots and giant tortoises immediately come to mind.

Indeed - and Keas in New Zealand are known to be predatory. There are numerous 
reports of 
them attacking sheep, seeming to prefer tearing out the fat around their 
flanks. Sometimes the 
sheep survive, even if the wounds open up the intestinal tract, and they end up 
defecating out of 
the newly healed opening in the flank. Yuck.

Keas also actively dig up rabbit burrows with their mattock-like beaks, to get 
at the gooey rabbit 
goodness inside.

Neither parrots nor giant tortoises have the rediculous degree of 
over-engineering you see in 
ceratopsian jaws though. I quite like Mark Witton's take on the issue:


On Mon, Mar 5th, 2012 at 11:14 AM, "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@umd.edu> 
> And its worth remembering that "herbivory" is not just folivory: plenty of
> plant tissues are pretty tough, and there are various herbiviores which
> eat these.

What Mesozoic plants present in the environment of protoceratops could have 
possibly warranted 
such an extreme jaw configuration? The Mesozoic equivalents of coconuts perhaps?

If the jaw mechanics of ceratopsians evolved as much for defense as for 
feeding, then it would be 
surprising if their ability to shear through flesh and bone wasn't at least 
occasionally used in feeding 
as well (and by further extension, even active hunting).


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