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Pouch

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Pouch

Several species of pouch exist in the rivers of Australia. Many live together and the species are distinguished by the different patterns of color on the tail. The webbed hind feet and steering membrane of the pouch enable it to swim easily through the water. Diving swiftly beneath the surface, the pouch seizes a fish between its sharp teeth.

The Pouch, Saccosaurus spp., is a semiaquatic maniraptoran with webbed feet, a stiff tail, and a transparent throat pouch like that of a pelican, living by rivers in the scrubs and tall grass savannahs of eastern and northern Australia, in The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution.

Wherever bony fish are abundant there will be fishing animals, including, on occasion, non-avian dinosaurs. In fact, fishing non-avian dinosaurs, such as Baryonyx, existed in Early Cretaceous times. The rivers of the Australia, however, have a unique group of fish-catching theropods called the pouches. These generally belong to the same genus, Saccosaurus, and have evolved from Kakuru, the same ancestor as the cribrum. They are quite amphibious, being happier sculling about on the surface of the water and diving to the river bed than waddling about on land. Their buoyant bodies, big heads and webbed feet make the adults look very ungainly and vulnerable as they tend to their nests on riverbanks. The nests are built of mud and sticks, above the local flood level. The eggs, hatchlings and juveniles resemble those of a totally land-living creature, suggesting that it has not been long since the pouch evolved from a terrestrial ancestor. The swimming habits of the young pouches must be learned at their parents' side while their bodies develop the aquatic adaptations of adulthood.

In the water, the adult pouch swims gracefully on the surface, with its striped tail waving as a flag. It moves steadily with powerful strokes of its webbed hind feet and dives swiftly after fish, steering with a membrane between the forelimb and the body. The catch is held in a bag of skin beneath the lower jaw until the pouch returns to land.

Pouch 2

Fish caught by the parent pouch are stored in the bag beneath the jaw. There they are kept safe while the dinosaur waddles up to the nest and presents them to the young offspring.

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