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Re: Behaviour Bias

Gothgrrl@aol.com wrote:
> >But why limit yourself?
> Because I am a scientist and that's how I was taught to do science.
Ouch!  I don't mean to poke my nose where it doesn't belong, but while
we try to be as quantitative as possible, we most also try to be open
minded as professionals in the scientific field.  As a naturalist
employed by a zoolgical institution, nothing ticks me off more than
people quoting literature like it is god-given truth when they have
absolutley no field experience to back it up.
 I see way too much emphasis on the entire endo vs. ecto-thermic battle
when it comes to explaining dino behavior than there needs to be. 
Whether dinos had endothermic tendancies or whether they had as many
cranial folds as extant animals does not necessarily doom them to a
particuliar stereotype or the other. We seem to be saying that only
mammals are capable of cooperative hunting, yet many species of fishes
(tuna, redfish, and jacks, for example) utilize cooperative hunting. 
Further, group cooperation occurs with ants, bees, and termites, even
though this is not hunting in the classic sense.
Dinos were their own class, and probably exbitied behaviors we will
never know because we do not have extant examples today.  Do not fall
into the trap of equating dinosaurian behavior with that of even the
largest monitor lizards (komodo dragons), however.  I am sitting less
than three feet away from a very large monitor this very moment, and I
can safely inform you that all members of the genus varanus employ the
same reptilian mode of opportunistic feeding followed by a period of
rest and digestion.  This also goes for the crocodilia, for that
matter.  They have no social, migratory, or communal nesting behavior as
exhibited by at least some members of the dinosauria.  If you choose to
refer to a group of komodos scavenging a dead goat as social behavior,
then perhaps the pendelum has swung too far back the other direction!

Although I tend to distantly agree with Bakker on a number of his ideas,
I certainly agree that with speculation there must come evidence.  I
would hate to see us swing so far back to the "right" that we loose
sight of the origin of all science: That nagging, questioning dreamer in
all of us that continually asks "Why?".

Dave Pelley