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Re: Velociraptor scavenged azhdarchid pterosaur

On Tue, Mar 6th, 2012 at 9:54 AM, Tim Williams <tijawi@gmail.com> wrote:

> Henrique Niza <drdinopt@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I think it is far reasonable to assume, considering the difference in
> > body size between the two specimens preserved, that the Protoceratops
> > was the one attacking the Velociraptor and not the other way around.
> I disagree.  When a carnivore like _Velociraptor_ is preserved locked
> in combat with a herbivore like _Protoceratops_... I tend to think
> that the carnivore might be the aggressor here.  After all, this *is*
> _Velociraptor_.

Why is it automatically assumed that protoceratops was a herbivore? Surely the 
old days of the 
theropod=carnivore / non-theropod=herbivore dichotomy are long behind us.  I 
don't see any 
reason to discount omnivory amongst ceratopsians in general (even if most 
carcasses were 
scavenged rather than actively taken down).

The idea that dromaeosaurs were hypercarnivores is surely also an assumption. 
They may of just 
as well had a broader diet similar to extant canids, for which plant matter can 
form a considerable 
part of the diet. It doesn't take any obvious dental specialisations to swallow 
the occasional bit of 
fruit or fungus.

> Why would the _Velociraptor_ get too close to the _Protoceratops_...
> if not for the obvious reason?

Nest robbing comes to mind. A Velociraptor caught in the act might earn the ire 
of the egg layer. 
Killing and eating the intruder might just be a beneficial biproduct of nest 


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