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Re: Dino Eggs and Mammals

John Bois <jbois@umd5.umd.edu> writes:

>I believe behavioral adaptations made them far more efficient
>egg-predators.  Extant species of mammals have it all over the reptiles.
>A snake, for example, is so adapted for defence (i.e., for crawling down
>small holes) that its body plan makes it an easy target: "Bight my tail
>and I'll bight you back as soon as I can get my head around."  In any
>case, what I am proposing does not require a sudden dominance but an
>additive effect, something that tips them over the edge.

One would think, then, that mammals, being so superior to not only
dinosaurs, but also other egg-eaters of the time, would have completely
replaced these other egg-eaters.

>Island invaders eat prey into extinction.  Many different species, "old
>hands," new hands, new wings, had no consideration of saving their
>species--if that is what you are suggesting.  But I beg you to consider
>that all individuals of all species try to maximize their own gain.  If
>they are hungry, they eat (I think Confucius might have said that--or was
>it Wynne Edwards?).

I don't necessarily agree that island invaders eat prey into extinction.
They may out-compete the native fauna.  But, as I said, there are
ecological checks and balances.
Sure, if I am hungry, I eat.  But if I eat my last remaining bit of food, I
still wind up starving to death in the long run.  If the mammals of the
time ate all of those tasty dino eggs until there were no more, it's lights
out for the egg-eaters.

>> Sixth:  Egg-eaters or no, I still think that something very real occurred at
>> the K/T boundary, and it killed more than just the non-avian dinosaurs.
>> Whether it be a bolide, vulcanism, alien invasion, or a combination,
>> something definitely happened.  The big sea-reptiles all vanished.  Plankton
>> took a heavy beating.  Ammonites.  Trilobites.  Gone.  Mammals were not
>> responsible for their demise(s).
>Yes, things were happening.  But why the dinos?

Why not the dinos?  Why the ammonites?  Why the plesiosaurs?  Why the
Pterosaurs? Why the....?  You get the idea.  One species is as good as any
other when the Grim Reaper of species (Extinction) comes along.

>Burrow next to the colony.  When they leave, run up to the eggs and eat.
>When they sleep, stealthily creep among the eggs and eat your fill.

That's just it!  In a large herd, they don't all just up and leave the eggs
And, even if the little furballs managed to sneak up in the middle of the
night and eat their fill, just how many eggs would you expect a mouse-sized
or smaller critter to eat? Surely not more than one.

>Physical evidence of any kind is absent.  It would be nice to have some.
>But there is no physical evidence of any kind to indicate why dinosaurs
>became extinct.

And that is the fundamental problem with the idea - no evidence.  Just as
there is no physical evidence that aliens didn't come down and snatch them
all up for an extra-terrestrial zoo.  Sure, it could have happened.

>The iridium layer is evidence of an event--it says
>nothing about dinosaur extinction, i.e., why dinosaurs were singled out
>for the evolutionary scrap heap.

Dinosaurs were not 'singled out for the evolutionary scrap-heap.'  All
species have a "life expectancy," so to speak, which often lasts no more
than about 10 million years or so.
It could very well be that, if things went just a little differently, the
dinos of the time might have lasted for a bit longer.  But they still would
have died off.  Much evidence points to them being in a decline anyway.

>While it _may_ be a mere contributory
>factor, the non-stealthy egg theory explains a great deal more thanthe
>bolide event.  In the same way, physical evidence of climate change,
>vulcanism, etc., is there but, again, does nothing to explain the extinction.

However, the egg-eating-sneaky-mammals-theory does nothing to explain the
other events going on at the same time.  It does not seem to me to be the
simplest explanation to have to come up with separate causes for each group
that died out.