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Falling Down



Hello all,

I'm going to go directly to the point of this message, Darren Naish,
dwn194@soton.ac.uk posting this:

>Rob's statement seems to be in the same field as suggestions that a
>falling _Tyrannosaurus_ could accurately control its headlong
>pitching into the dirt, that sauropods would roll onto theropods to
>squash them to death, that _Nanotyrannus_ is an analogue for the
>coyote, or that ceratopians worked like beach buggies.

As some people will remember from last years' thread Dr. Farlow and I
pursued a debate concerning Tyrannosaurus rex, (gracile morph), suffering
fatal injuries as the reult of a fall while running. It was my contention
that any  predatory animal such as this would have reactionary skills
capable of averting fatal injuries should such a fall happen. The evidence
to support my thoughts are just as conclusive as Dr. Farlow's assertions.
There is no fossil evidence to settle the matter, (ie broke neck Sues), but
there is trackway clues that Tyrannosarids did run. To have this line of
reasoning twisted from my origional statements to assert that "accurately
control" was within Tyrannosarus rex's bag of tricks is just wrong. I
posted words to the effect that without a reaction-time test model the
mathmatics presented in the origional paper were almost meaningless. Basing
my opinion on observation of extant herbivore-predatory species, and the
extreme agility displayed thereby, I cannot accept that every fall at
running speed resulted in a dead Tyrannosaurus rex. Either these creatures
didn't fall much, or such falls were not usually fatal. How can I say this?
Tyrannosaurus rex was not a flash-in-the-pan species, and thus not an
evolutionary side-bar. If this is the kind of "wild" speculation that we
must get real about then I must ask what version of reality we use?

The fact is Darren is very much wrong about the zebra kicking only when
grabbed by a predator. The zebra knows the lion is pursuing and the angle
of attack, and practices this defense intraspecifically. This well placed
kick comes instinctually, and without planning. I've watched enough
National Geographic specials and Dscovery Channel features to know what I
saw. Heck I watched a zebra kick the "stuff" out of a croc while both were
in the water. What's the problem here, Darren, suffering from a lack of
cable TV, or just feeling mean? Your statements are based less on
repeatedly observed behavior than personal "opinions" which you seem to
abhore. Betty C's posting should clear the water, and prove that at least
one zebra got in a well placed kick. Aside from flight, kicking the
stuffing out of  a pursuer happens.

I suggest you present some (any) firm evidence to support your position(s),
and try to remember that all of us can be wrong, evem you!

Roger A. Stephenson