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Re: Hadrosaur defense




On Tue, 20 May 1997, Rob Meyerson wrote:
> I have a hunch that we are missing something crutial here.

If you tune into sci.bio.ethology (news reader) I have started a thread
called "altruistic dinosaurs".  I argue that maiasaurs fulfilled
Robert Trivers' 3 preconditions for likely evolution of reciprocal
altruism: they were long lived; they had low dispersal rates (at least
they returned year after year to the same nesting sites); and they were
brought together in mutual dependence (this last is speculative and
depends on the idea that maiasaurs defended their nests).  I contrast
this with modern nest colonies which often, in my view (since defining
work has not been done on this as far as I know), are formed more in
response to scarce predator-free real estate (I'm thinking of off-shore
islands and Antarctica) than as a unit for communal defence.  I know their
are exceptions to this.  Crows, for example, seem to have formed just such
a system as I'm arguing for dinos.  They have sentinels, they share food
(I once saw one dragging a packet of french fries over to another crow and
then fly off).  I think kin selection is more likely than r.a.

If you want to slam me for my ideas on the dependence of dinos on nest
defence, come on over.  But please don't put the gentle folk on this list
through another round of it here.