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Cribrum

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Cribrum

The cribrum stands in the shallow water, often on one leg, and feeds by sieving the water through its finely toothed jaws. It swings its head around in a wide arc to cover as much water as possible. There are few predators on the shores of the salty lakes, but when one does appear, slinking down to the water's edge to try and trap an unwary cribrum, the herds panic and scatter in all directions. The milling surge of pink distracts and confuses the hunter, while the voluminous curtains of spray thrown up by the dash through the shallow water conceals the direction of the fleeing herd.

The Cribrum, Cribrusaurus rubicundus, is a pink, flamingo-like maniraptoran living by lakes from the scrub and tall grass savannas of eastern Australia, in The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution.

The rivers that drain from the Great Dividing Range into the arid hinterland of the Australian continent (the Murray-Darling Basin) often seep away into the desert, or else form lakes. Lakes that form in the rainy season support an explosive burst of algae and crustaceans, and the cribrum feeds on these. Coelurosaurs have been present in Australia at least since Kakuru hunted there in Early Cretaceous times. It would be from a creature such as this that the cribrum evolved. In build it is rather like a conventional 2-meter-long (6 feet) maniraptoran, but the long curved jaws are armed with thousands of tiny, needlelike teeth. These strain living creatures from the fine mud and water of the deltas and lakes. An unusual feature of the cribrum is that it changes color depending on where it is feeding. When it is feeding in the fresh water of the streams, the color is a light grey. When it feeds on crustaceans and algae in the salty waters of the lakes, however, its skin and feathers turn pink. The red coloration in the algae is concentrated in the bodies of the crustaceans that feed on it, and thus appears in the pigmentation of the cribrum that feed on them.

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