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Re: DINOSAUR BEHAVIOR
> > Regarding the intelligence of some of the smaller theropods, studies
> > of fossilized braincases give good indication as to the size and
> > complexity of their brains and [comparison to ostriches and emus]...
> If they are as smart as parrots, padlock your door and hide the key.
I think he just said that they probably weren't.
> Conjecture. And to some of us, raptors and psittaciformes *are*
> theropods, though I know what you meant.
It is conjecture based on what we know about brains and how brain
development is tied to behavioral complexity and flexibility in modern
animals. We have endocranial casts of dinosaurs, so we have at least a
fairly good idea how well developed the brain was compared to modern
animals. Hawks and corvids are fairly brainy birds, and theropod brain
development is apparantly toward the "low" end of birds. Can we make
absolute statements based on that information? No, but it is
rather suggestive. We should be making conservative statements, not
basing our assumptions on what would be the coolest. As I understand it,
flocking behavior just involves copying what one bird is doing; it
doesn't involve much strategy or innovative thinking that would be
required in social hunting, a behavior apparantly restricted to a
few fairly brainy birds.
> encephalization always sounded to me overmuch like
> phrenology with a Ph.D.,
A convenient way of blowing off inconvenient data. There are lots of
things we don't know about the brain, but science is constantly developing
a better picture of how it functions.