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Re: Cursorial adaptations (was T.rex and elephants)



Ralph Miller III wrote:
 
> _T.rex_ and elephants?  What the?!

'Twasn't my idea, I just joined an ongoing thread! <g>

Good discussion, though.  Thanks.  I have that SciAm collection; I'll
have to look up that article when I have some free time next month. <g>
 
> As you can see, an elephant has NONE of these adaptations.  Did anyone (who
> has not seen _George of the Jungle_) have any doubts about this?  Elephants
> are graviportal.  End of story.

        Step your feet, slap your tail
        Seven on the Richter Scale
        Ev'rybody lumber to
        The Graviportal Polka!
                ("The Graviportal Polka," DR. JANE'S FOSSIL FEVER) (sorry, 
couldn't
resist)

> And as for our cherished _Tyrannosaurus rex_.  What of him?  In my view,
> _Tyrannosaurus_ clearly does not share all of the cursorial adaptations of
> modern mammals.  But that's OK.  Tyrannosaurs had more of the
> aforementioned cursorial adaptations than any other animal in its size
> class and , hence, would have been fast enough.  Maybe not as fast as
> Bakker describes them, but they were definitely in the race.  They were not
> so adapted for cursorial pursuit as modern cheetahs, but so what?  Their
> prey, which may have included such genera as _Edmontosaurus_ and
> _Triceratops_, were NOT gazelles!  And if _T.rex_ was an active hunter, it
> may have been able to mortally wound most animals with a single shoveling
> bite, so marathon runs need not have been a part of its repertoire.

I envision T-rex as more of an ambush hunter, especially in the mixed
growth that was its most likely habitat (according to THE COMPLETE T.
REX).  Can't be big and a chase hunter in heavy growth.  Doesn't work. 
Big generally seems to equate with an ambush hunter.

-- JSW