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Re: Dinosaurs versus mammals



At 11:12 PM 5/22/97 -0400, John Bois wrote:
>Right.  So the gentleman's question is a good one.  And the answer needs
>to be addressed in an adaptationist fashion rather than some Gouldian
>stochasticist "It is the way it is because it is the way it is"
>answer.
        Part of my point in saying they got there "the firstest with the
mostest" was that it may have happened so fast, and hinged upon so many
factors (some to many of which may not have had to do with anatomy, at least
not anatomical adaptations expressed in the fossil record) that we may not
be able to determine it.
        While I applaud your search for answers, I hesitate to accept
"adaptionist" answers. IMHO, they are frequently too simple and do not make
ecological or evolutionary sense. It seems also that many of the
larger-scale ones eventually get disproven (phorusrachids and mammalian
carnivores, for a start). The old "X was better adapted than Y", while
certainly a possible explanation for an event, needs to go the way of Cope's
Rule and Dollo's Law. We need to recognize that such explanations are but
one of a myriad of possible causes.
        And what's so wrong with Gould, anyway? :)
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      Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock TX 79409
      "The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity." - Unknown