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AVOID THE 'ROID
Those of you who've been around here for a couple of years may
recognize this from June of 1994. It seems relevant to a current
thread, and the web archives only go back to September of '94, so I
can't just give you a URL (until tomorrow when this makes it there :-)
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 94 10:47 EDT
From: Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Subject: Re: Re: Raptor Intelligence
>Dr. Dale Russell theorized and created a model of what an intelligent dinosaur
>might have looked like based on the advanced trend in characteristics in the
>small carnivorous dinosaurs (namely: Saurornithoides). He based his work on
>an increasing brain size, bipedal gait, enlarged eyes (binocular vision), and
>manipulative 3-digit hands (one digit may or may not have been opposible).
AVOID THE 'ROID!
I really like Dale, and he has supported my work, but I REALLY dislike the
'roid. Not as an excerise, but because it wound up looking so humanoid.
Troodontids already had a bipedal gait and manipulative hands, and given
that many dinosaurs had heavy skulls but retained a horizontal spine, I do
not think the totally erect posture is justified. Because of this, there's
no reason to take away the tail and give the 'roid a butt. (A note here:
the muscles which power the hindlimbs of dinosaurs and other sauropsids are
attached to the tail, while the major power muscles in mammals is attached
to the hip. A fully erect posture would necessitate the loss of the tail
and convergent development of the gluteus maximus, but I think it more
likely that a derived troodontid would maintain the horizontal posture and
the caudofemoralis muscle, requiring a long tail).
Of course, all this is a lot of speculation. Since we have a sample size of
one with regards to sapient beings, maybe a humanoid posture is required.
It's impossible to test this hypothesis at present, so I concede that
Russell might be correct. I personally, however, think that most other
intellegent bipeds (if any) would have a more horizontal posture and a tail,
since humans went through a long and complicated process to get our own
Thomas R. HOLTZ
Vertebrate Paleontologist, Dept. of Geology