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RE: _T. rex_ strikes ( was Ceratopsian frills)



Stephen said:

>I don't know what it weighed, what its proportions were, or what it
>ate.  I think the encyclopedia gave its length at 6 feet and the length
>of a big modern wolf at 5, excluding tails.

I spent the holidays in LA.  I went to the Paige museum last Sunday.   
(funny story about the tennis ball).  Dire wolf skulls are bigger than   
modern wolf skulls by maybe 2 inches in length.  They are much more   
robust then modern wolves.  However there are modern dogs that could   
equal a Dire wolf's height and mass.  A mastiff could, easily.

> Actually, most scavengers are rather odd looking.  The largest
> scavengers I know of now are the brown hyena (*not* the larger spotted
> hyena, which hunts), and the two species of condor.  Neither is what
> I would call particularly agile.

The primary specimens in La Brea are scavengers............They got   
full-time scavengers and part-timers that probably hunted quite capabily   
on their own but thought to take advantage of the area.  Funny- they   
don't have any raccoons out of the pits, and they KNOW that raccoons were   
in the LA area at the time from other sites.  And raccoons are the most   
agile N American scavenger--apes, baboons, and monkeys being even-more   
agile types from other parts of the world.  Just wanted to mention them   
since humans are desended from one particularily agile tool-using   
scavenger and we shouldn't be calling the rest odd-looking.

>I think condors eat by checking out a lot of opportunities, not by
>chasing off land animals.

lot of condor bones at la Brea.  Condors wait till the larger animals are   
willing to put up with the condor sneaking in and feeding- but then   
condors can't digest fresh meat but must have the meat rotted in order to   
let their stomachs process the food. (learned that at the San diego zoo)   
So I don't really see why a condor would chase an animal off a fresh   
kill.

>Among 5 ton animals, I'd expect _Triceratops_, with its short, muscular
>legs, to be much better at quick moves and short sprints than _T rex_.

I think from what you are saying you are trying to project a sort of   
Quarter-horse-like agility on the Triceratops.
I epect it's something more like a draft horse.
The draft horse is a very powerful animal, originally bred to carry   
knights in the middle ages and fight along side the knight as well, and   
was found capabile of putting in long hours of labor on a farm (before   
that farmers used smaller-more-easily fed animals).  Not as 'agile' an   
animal as you are describing, but certainly more powerful and able to   
take care of istelf.  And closer in size and weight to the more robust   
Triceratops.

 -Betty Cunningham