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Re: Pack hunting

 From Sherry Michael (7/21/96; 3:48p), commenting on remarks by Stan 
Friesen about Deinonychus hunting in packs for Tenontosaurus ("D." and 
"T.", respectively):

>>If I remember right there was one T. with at least one D. skeleton
>>associated, in a manner that suggest it died while trying to kill
>>the T.  And since the T. did in fact get killed and eaten (tooth marks,
>>missing bones, and shed D. teeth), other D. were apparently present.

>Or, the T. could have been wounded, died and then scavenged by other
>D's later.

Maybe the D. died while also scavenging the carcass.  Did the other D.s 
scavenge the first dead D.?  If not, then perhaps they all died at the 
same time, even though only one D. seems to show evidence of death 
simultaneously with the T.  

How often are dead lions found around the zebra carcass (substitute any 
predator-prey combo)?  Not very often, I would guess.  Lions aim for 
victims that are least risky to kill.  Wouldn't Deinonychus do the same?  
If it was so risky for adult Deinonychus to attack a Tenontosaurus, what 
about for sub-adults?  All this suggests to me that even though 
Deinonychus may have died while trying to kill the T., it was not killed 
by actions of the T.

>The whole pack hunting thing still seems too loose to me-but I'm a

And I'm cynical (sceptical may be a better word) about a number of 
instances where the predator was supposedly killed by the prey it was 
attacking, and both were fossilized together.  If the predator was 
fatally wounded, it wouldn't likely continue the attack or otherwise 
remain next to the wounded prey, thus dying at the same location.  A 
wounded predator would more likely stumble away.  Or, if the predator 
died on the spot but had wounded the prey first, then the prey would 
stumble away.  Having them inflict wounds on each other that caused them 
to die at essentially the same time and on the same spot is a lot for me 
to swallow--reminds me of a scene near the end of the movie Reservoir 
Dogs.  Anyway, in all of these instances, something else seems to be 
going on--there was the predation, and then there was whatever killed 


Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu