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RE: Dino coloration and more...



Wayne Anderson writes;

>Of course what you say is correct, but maybe I didn't state my point clearly.
>What offends me about the "dinosauroid" is not whether it COULD evolve as
>depicted, but the humanocentric assumption that it WOULD have, "if they
>hadn't died out." This presupposes a basic tendency toward the humanoid
>form as the (not "a", but "THE") ultimately desirable survival trait.

While it is common for our species to see the emphasis on intellegence
as the ultimate adaptave advantage, this does not invalidate the
hypothesis that a "dinosaurian equivallent of ourselves" would emerge.
In the game of evolution, if a species stumbles on a trait that turns
out to be beneficial, it will continue to develop that trait to
maximum effectiveness (i.e. proto-bird arm ---> proto-bird wing).  In
this senario, it is probable that somewhere in the dinosaurian ranks
there would be a genera that would select for a larger brain and
greater intellegence.  By following Dr. Russell's reasoning, we could
quite easily find a dinosaur that develops into a form that is similar
to ourselves.  Statistically speaking, there would almost have to be
some-genera that would find a larger brain more useful.  Whether that
critter is a theropod, a hadrosaur, or a ceratopian, is irrelevant
(although it would be more likely among the predators).

>        That's what bothers me. The dinos were plenty successful, especially
>compared to us upstarts (in duration, at least!). Everybody here knows that.
>Look at the changes between an Allosaur and a T.Rex, both evolved to fill
>the same niche, but about 90 MY apart. That difference is trivial compared
>with the changes between our ancestors a mere five MY ago and our current
>condition. My point is: they weren't going in our direction, and they didn't
>need to, and to assume that they "want to be like us" in an evolutionary
>sense smacks of a sort of arrogance.

We may be more guilty of looking for mirrors in the fossil record.  We
feel better if we find something in the past that resembles us, to
show that our emergance wasn't a fluke or an accident.  While we may
*focus* on intellegence, it is worthy to note that a big-brain isn't
the *only* adaptively advantageous trait out there.

Evolution is as evolution does.

Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

***
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