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Re: eggs and I

On Thu, 30 May 1996 PWSPARKS@aol.com wrote:
> I think in all of this that there is a lot of evolutionary "room"
> for the egg and the predator to duke it out but not loose either one
> (unless the external environment changes real fast).

This is a beautiful example of an evolutionary arms race as you say,
egg and pred "duking it out."  Undoubtedly this went on in the
Cretaceous, too.  What could the dinos do?  First of all, most egg
predators did not have size-related constraints as does your
viper--for most of them it simply would have been the bigger the
better.  The dinos could thicken the shell but this had limits.  They
could physically defend the nest (and probably did) but this was an
expensive tactic (see my own recent posts on this subject).  The
central problem for thse non-stealthy reproducers _was_ the
constraints of the egg and its limited potential for a long protracted
arms race against new and old evolutionary products. In this regard, i
think it is significant that the viper battle goes on on an island
where predators are few and not diverse.  One tactic might defeat it.
However, on the main land Cretaceous, predators were big, small, and
oh so diverse.

All the best.