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

ARE THEROPODS REALLY *THAT* STUPID?



> The best talk at the meeting was that by Dave Thomas, who showed that Bird's
> old Texas Cretaceous trackway does show a big theropod attacking the tail of
> a sauropod. He is almost certainly correct.
> 
> GSPaul 
> 

So, what's his case? I wouldn't have thought that any theropod would be dumb
enough to start hacking away at a sauropod's most powerful muscular asset. A
disabled sauropod - or just a dumb theropod?

Of course, even if we have an occasion where the theropod was putting itself in
a life-threatening situation, we are hardly dealing with unprecedented
behaviour. Animals do dumb things, and often die for it. 

INTRASPECIFIC HERBIVORE DEATHS

There are published photos of male Impala fighting. One male kills the other,
and continues to butt at the recumbent carcass till he pushes it over a little
cliff. Hippos, kangaroos and horses are also known to have killed other males
in combat (of course, this behaviour is probably far more widespread).

Can we interpret marks on herbivore skeletons as evidence for hostile encounters
with members of the same species, possibly even fatal ones? 

I am unaware of the latter, but have seen a few in-life bump-marks on a fair few
herbivore skeletons. McGowan's DS&SDs has photos of a lambeosaur with busted
ribs, and a ?chasmosaur (memory fails me) with a broken rib. An _Iguanodon_ was
recently reported here with a neural spine that got smashed and then re-healed.
Big question is, are there any marks on ceratopsian skulls or scapulae showing
evidence of spars with other individuals? Long-horned _Bison_ managed to stab
each other in the shoulder blades when fighting, and marks are left on their
bones. Same for any ceratopsian?

"People call them pterodactyls, but that is only because they are ashamed to
call them flying dragons, after having denied for so long that flying dragons
could exist"

DARREN NAISH