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Re: Tomia Re: Question: Why did birds lose their teeth?

On Wed, Mar 12th, 2014 at 1:31 AM, "Richard W. Travsky" <rtravsky@uwyo.edu> 

> What about tomia? For those birds that have them it would indicate there 
> is some sort of need for this functionality, and not for those who don't 
> have them.

Indeed. There are modern birds that would actually benefit from having teeth, 
but it seems that 
tooth loss in extant birds is non-reversable. Tomial 'teeth' in the beak seem 
to be as close as they 
can get, given the genes they've had to work with.

Parrots are another interesting case. They have robust jaws and massive jaw 
muscles, in stark 
contrast to that of the average passerine. The beaks of red-tailed black 
cockatoos or palm 
cockatoos are definitely not the place you'd want your finger to be (the latter 
species sporting some 
impressive tomial 'teeth'). Whereas the skull of a starling would pop like 
bubble wrap if squeezed 
between finger and thumb (something not all that different to what they try to 
do to each others' 
skulls in a fight).


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