Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gizzard Stones (Gastrolith)
"A gastrolith, also called a stomach stone or gizzard stones, is a rock held inside a gastrointestinal tract. Gastroliths are retained in the muscular gizzard and used to grind food in animals lacking suitable grinding teeth. "
"Pterodaustro is represented by a number of specimens from Argentina. There is a complete skeleton, a partial juvenile and an egg, just to mention a few. This unusual pterosaur is quite well represented in the fossil record, certainly enough is known to make a convincing reconstruction.
Most unusually, this was a filter feeder with a fine sieve of unusually adapted teeth that would have been ideal for filter feeding on small aquatic living organisms. This was the Flamingo of the ancient world!
It is also the first pterosaur where gizzard stones have been observed to be present."
"At least two specimens of Pterodaustro have been found, MIC V263 and MIC V243, with gizzard stones in the stomach cavity, the first ever reported for any pterosaur. These clusters of small stones with angled edges support the idea that Pterodaustro ate mainly small, hard-shelled aquatic crustaceans using filter-feeding."

The digestive system of birds is unique, with a crop for storage and a gizzard that contains swallowed stones for grinding food to compensate for the lack of teeth.[48

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