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Re: mammal mystery




On Mon, 17 Feb 1997, Jeffrey Martz wrote:
>     Wasn't your argument that large dinosaur size was what ultimately
> caused thier extinction, because they weren't stealthy?  Did they evolve
> large size to defend thier nests, or was thier large size what made it
> impossible to defend thier nests? 

Without wanting to drag everyone through this again (I don't want my plug
pulled), my view is that dinosaurs grew big because of their influence on
each other, i.e., it payed to be bigger or meaner than the other dinos who
would eat you.  This led to the bad situation of laying precious offspring
where everything which could eat them could see them. I also speculate
that the defences which worked so well against big predators were useless
against more recent arrivals: mammals and modern-aspect birds and that,
when you take into account the developments of these animals they were
essentially novel tormenters as far as dinos were concerned.

> Why bother in the first place?  Small
> mammals were around since the Late Triassic, so it isn't like they would
> have had to change strategies.

This assumes that mammals didn't do any evolving in the cretaceous.  We
know that is false.  You, like just about everyone else but me, seem to
think the dinosaurs could have nothing to fear from mammals and birds.  I
was reading Geo. Eliot's _Middlemarch_ the other day and came across this
quote.  
1st. Gent.      Where lies power, there lies blame too.
2nd. Gent.      Nay, power is relative; you cannot fright
                The coming pest with border fortresses,
                Or catch your carp with subtle argument.
                All force is twain in one; cause is not cause
                Unless effect be there; action's self
                Must needs contain a passive. So command
                Exists but with obedience.              

The coming pest was the mammals. Or the birds.