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RE: Eating dinosaurs and other questions



> As an amateur, some of these questions may seem silly to you professionals 
> but I have a random curiosity sometimes.
> 
>  1) Do you think human beings could eat non-avian dinosaur meat - like a 
> hadrosaur - if they were alive today (ha) and we could
> somehow feed them on today's plant life? Would there be any reason to think 
> that they might have been poisonous to our systems,
> or we couldn't break down their proteins, etc.? I don't know if the 
> comparison to chicken, turkey, etc., is valid in this question or not.
> Recently I tried BBQ'd alligator and found it very tasty! Sci-fi aside, 
> conquering the practical issues of feeding, ranching safely, the
> economic cost vs. profit etc., a herd of hadrosaurs or ceratopsians would 
> seem to present an awful lot of meat for the 'rancher.'

No reason to think that the meat of non-avian dinosaurs, or pseudosuchians, or 
plesiosaurs, or Mesozoic mammals, or so on, would be poisonous or indigestible 
to humans. Meat is pretty much meat.

Would expect it to vary in taste and quality from taxon to taxon (i.e., some 
gamier than others), but should be fine.

For that matter, is there meat of any modern non-poisonous vertebrate which is 
really harmful or indigestible to humans?

>  2) Did Tim Haines sort of 'chickened out' when the T.Rex ate the 
> Didelphodon, obscured by the nest, in that episode of WWD? I think
> they may have been worried that showing a cute, fluffy mammal being eaten 
> alive - blood or not - might have disturbed some of their
> younger viewers. Pity.

Deal with it. It was family TV. 

For those who didn't seen the US Discovery Channel version (which, unless you 
taped it from broadcast, you probably haven't: it isn't commercially available, 
and the Disco Channel doesn't even keep copies in their archives!), that was 
made even more kiddified: they removed the ripped-in-half ichthyosaur, the 
parasites on the Ornithocheirus, etc.

>  3) Is there any paleontology book currently out - regardless of language 
> that is based on the subject of dromaeosaurs? Or one with perhaps another 
> subject or two, but a large section based on them?
> Perhaps a very broad paper that discusses the various species?

No popular audience book fitting this bill. My own 2007 encyclopedia, among 
others, have a chapter on them, but this is a really narrow topic for a book.

There is an open access monograph 
(http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/handle/2246/6352), but this is technical 
aspects of osteology, taxonomy, and phylogeny, and is not really about the 
paleobiology of these critters (which I suspect is what you are more interested 
in).

Hope this helps,

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA