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Re: dinosaur inspiration



At 04:39 PM 9/17/96 -0500, Nick Longrich writes [quoting Rob -- MR]:

>> I concentrate on the theropods for one reason, if we can determine the
>> metabolism of the predators, we can safely assume a similar metabolism
>> for the herbivores.
>
>       Komodo dragons, pit vipers and crocodiles (both modern and the 
>Eocene Pristichampsus) come to mind as exceptions, along with the Great 
>White and bird-eating spiders- for that matter, presumably any spiders 
>would have metabolisms quite different from partially-endothermic 
>flying insects they capture. Granted, these are all generally (maybe with 
>the exception of the Great White) ambush, rather than pursuit, predators, 
>but there are also endothermic ambush predators (many cats).

However, none of these animals are in the position of
Top-Land-Carnivore.  It is this species which will determine the
minimum endothermic level of the Top-Land-Herbivore.  Lower down on
the food chain, things might get a little less certain, even getting
to the point where the rule might not apply, but it can be extremely
useful for the largest land animals.  I can't quite make this fit for
crocodiles though, perhaps there is something special about their
niche which allows them to dominate in areas with a high mammal
population.

Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

***
"Nothing can save the city now."
        -GTKOM