[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Dinosaur Heresies

John Matrow wrote (paraphrasing Bakker):

>>ORTHODOX: The two great dinosaur clans, the beaked dinosaurs
>>and the meat-eaters, evolved from quite different ancestors
>>(brontosaurs supposedly evolved from early meat-eaters).

Scott Horton replies:

>This has always presented a problem to me. I find it difficult to
>visualize how a species can change from herbivore to carnivore, or

I don't think this should be so much of a stretch.  Animals don't
strictly enforce their diets.  For example, ungulates have been
observed to eat young birds in nests on the ground (I believe that
both deer and goats do this).  You might also want to compare the
diets of various species of bears.  At the extreme you have the polar
bear that eats essentially nothing but meat, and the giant panda that
eats nothing but vegetation.  In between you have brown bears (closely
related to the polar bear) that eat pretty much anything available.

>>"I use BRONTOSAURUS not APATOSAURUS even though, according to the
>>International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, the latter is the
>>legal name. Al Romer used to complain that "rules of nomenclature
>>should server the cause of science, not the other way around."
>Yes! I agree very strongly. The name change only served to confuse
>people. The name Brontosaurus had been used in hundreds of popular
>books for decades. No-one had every heard of Apatosaurus at that
>time. So, which name does it make more SENSE to go with?

It doesn't bother me to refer to _Apatosaurus_ as _Brontosaurus_, but
it bugged the bejesus out of me that Bakker used the word "brontosaur"
as a synonym for "sauropod".

Just my 2 cents.

Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)

P.S.  This list now has 371 people on it!