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Re: Muchas Cosas

>In my opinion it was definately a predator.  The arguments against
>scavenging are pretty strong.  My real problem in this debate is John
>Horner and reversion to creationistesque arguments.  Two of his main
>points that he never fails to mention in every documentary about _T.
>rex_ is that it a) would be stupid to give up meat that was already
>there, and b) would have lost all its teeth if it bit into the back of a
>_Triceratops_.  First of all... no one EVER said that _T. rex_ would
>not scavenge (this is creationistesque because it is putting words
>into peoples mouths that they did not say).  No animal would give up
>a free meal, especially the king of the jungle (and by golly. this king
>of the jungle actually lived in a jungle).  And second of all, no one
>ever said that _T. rex_ would attack anything by hankering down on
>its sacrum.  That _is_ stupid.  Greg Paul makes a great case for
>hunting theropods in his book _Predatory Dinosaurs of the World_.

Peter et al -

        The fact is, most terrestrial carnivores are opportunists
(especially the non-volant ones).  That is, they predate, but won't pass up
a free lunch if they happen across a carcass.  The distances and
frequencies between carcasses is simply too great for most (endothermic)
carnivores to deal with -- it's just plain ol' easier to kill something for
food!  Flying is the best solution to both spot few and far between
carcasses, and to get to them quickly.  That's why vultures are some of the
best vertebrate scavengers.

       You're not quite correct in saying that "no carnivore would give up
a free meal," although as a rule of thumb, it's OK.  Cheetahs are
noteworthy in that they are often observed avoiding carcasses in the wild
(in zoos they can be trained); they simply don't seem to scavenge in the
wild!  Snakes are similar:  only trained ones in captivity will take
pre-killed food (including mine -- the last time she got a live rat, it
wriggled it's head free from the constricting coils and bit her through the
esophagus!  Now she only gets pre-killed rats!) -- in the wild, snakes
won't take carrion.

Jerry D. Harris
Now Impending PhD Student
        In (Surprise!) Paleontology at
        Southern Methodist University
Internet:  jdharris@teal.csn.net
CompuServe:  73132,3372
        (and thus 73132.3372@compuserve.com)

--)::)>   '''''''''''''/O\'''''''''''`  Jpq--   =o}\   w---^/^\^o

I currently have no humorous quote to put
        in this space.

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