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

Re: Dino mimicry

OK folks, I've been quiet and tardy, but here's my 10^-2 $ worth on the dino
mimicry debate (I just caught up on it tonight):

The mimicry idea, on its face, seems reasonable. However, invoking _diurnal_
mimicry won't wash, I think. The chances of a species evolving a feature
whose usefulness depends on the time of day is pretty small, isn't it? There
was a famous artist in the early 20th century, Gerald Thayer, who tried
desperately to apply mimicry to a wde variety of animal features and
behaviors, including going so far as to suggest that the pink plumage of the
flamingo was evolved to allow the flamingos to be harder to see against the
sunset. Hard to swallow, when most of the flamingo predators were airborne.
He was a great artist by all accounts, but his science was a bit weak. The
science here is obviously much stronger - the knob may have been a Zaphod
Beeblebroxian attempt at disguise - but I don't think it evolved due to
diurnal pressures.

So there.

BTW, the story of Gerald Thayer is chronicled by SJ Gould in the essay "Red
Wings in the Sunset", in the book "Bully for Brontosaurus". The book's a bit
dense at times, but thoughtful reading (as usual for SJG on both counts).

Eric Winter
Eric, Diane, Alex and Caroline Winter
Alex is the youngest known paleontologist in the world - first specimen found at
age 10 months!