Greenleaf Chickens

  (Forest City, Pennsylvania)
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The Pterodaustro and Grit

One prehistoric flying reptile, the Pterodaustro guinazui,  has been found with a cargo of gravel in its guts.  For most bird owners, budgies, chickens, guinea fowl, this is grit.  

For reasons unknown to me this gravel eater has gotten a lot of attention.  Since birds are one of the few survivors of the  the Mesozoic era, the other being the incredible alligator/crocodile, I would have figured that flying dinosaurs did the same.  Perhaps all dinos did that?  I honestly haven’t figured that far and the article I saw this  tidbit in, New Scientist, did not postulate that far either.  Well, it’s something to chew on.

Back to the P. guinazui.  It seems that this flyer  is a reptilian version of the flamingo because its unusually long skull gave it a beak-like snout   head down and bill underwater, stirring up organic matter with their webbed feet and instead of the flamingo's ridges which run along the sides of its beak, the P. guinazui is thought to have hundreds of long, thin teeth to do the same.

  Now here's the grit part.  Luis Chiappe, the researcher  from the Natural History Museum of LA County, who published this in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, DOI: 10.1080/039.033.0508 ,  (the original link is no longer valid) says that the pterosaurs may have used the stones to help grind up the tiny crustaceans it ate just like " modern filter-feeding birds like flamingos"  or, I may add,  chickens who use grit to break up their food in their gizzards. 

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