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PACK HUNTING, SHMACK HUNTING...
In response to Larry Dunn's statement:
>> A lion whose jaw has been broken by a zebra was essentially killed by
>>the >> zebra.
Chris Campbell wrote:
> Hey, that's not a small injury. You're missing the point here; it's a
>given > that injuries will take the animal out of commission, but what
>I'm saying is > that it's not that easy to injure one in the first place.
>Something like a > trampling or goring or kick will do it, but
>Tenontosaurs don't seem to me to > be equipped for such attacks.
The entire argument for "pack hunting" is based on the site featuring three
dead _Deinonychus_ and one dead _Tenontosaurus_, the proposed scenario
being that the tenontosaur somehow killed the three dromaeosaurs while they
were in the midst of attacking it. How does this jibe with your statement?
>> And I'm not as enthusiastic as you to adopt such a meat-on-the-table
>>view of >> a large herbivore. Because they don't eat meat doesn't mean
>>that they're not >> aggressive, especially in defending themselves.
To which Chris responded:
> I don't view them as meat on the table unless they have no defensive
>armament > and aren't built for speed. In every single animal we have
>today which > defends itself you see defensive weaponry; horns,
>antlers, hooves, tusks, > *something*. T. had nothing whatsoever. No
>bite to speak of, no weaponry,
> not even any hooves. Not even mass. That sucker *was* meat on the table.
I'm not sure your description of _Tenontosaurus_ is accurate. First, you
have no idea how fast or slow _Tenontosaurus_ was in life. Second, it most
certainly had a beak and a long tail that could conceivably be used as
defensive "weapons" against attackers. And while it didn't have mammalian
hooves, it did have blunt claws on its hind feet. The most bizarre aspect
of your scenario, however, is the idea that because it was "defenseless"
(your opinion), what, it just stood there and let itself be eviscerated? It
didn't try to run away, or do *anything* to protect itself? This seems a
bit absurd (that word again...).
> Who says the Deinonychus killed weren't killed due to their own
>ineptitude? > The Tenontosaur doesn't get points if it killed them by
>falling on them.
One minute you have them leaping on and off the tenontosaur in a
ballet-like frenzy, the next they're so inept that they can't leap off
their toppling prey in time to prevent themselves from being crushed to
Here's the real problem I have with this site (and the supposed explanation
associated with it): There are three dead _Deinonychus_ and one dead
_Tenontosaurus_. In order for all four of them to have been found together
in the proposed "pack-hunting" kill scenario, the three theropods HAD TO
HAVE BEEN KILLED ON THE SPOT, dropped where they stood, AT PRETTY MUCH
EXACTLY THE SAME TIME AS THE TENONTOSAUR. All four of them, three predators
and one prey animal, brought down in the same place at pretty much the same
time. What are the odds of that? The theropods didn't die of injuries
sustained in the attack: they would have wandered off to die. The
tenontosaur wasn't on the run, but standing it's ground, else why would the
dromaeosaur remains be right there with it? So the attack is taking place
in one spot, the prey, standing its ground, kills three of its attackers
and is then immediately killed itself. Does this make sense? And if you
want me to believe that the tenontosaur simply fell on the dromaeosaurs,
the question then becomes, why *didn't* the predators leap off before being
crushed to death? By your own earlier scenario, Chris, they weren't on for
a ride, they were leaping on-and-off quickly. Sorry. You can't have it both
>> Were there no lizards to eat? Smaller dinosaurs? Mammals? Seems
>>rather >> fantastic to me.
To which Chris replied:
> Uh, they were grabbed by the myriad other small predators running around.
>> Particularly the really fast ones.
Bad argument. I realize that the fossil record is woefully incomplete, but
please name "the myriad other small predators" found in _Deinonychus_'
environment. Granted that there is the likelihood of their existence, but
your statement is based on specious reasoning, I think. Isn't it just as
likely that *_Deinonychus_* was the smallest predator in its environment
and we simply haven't found all the larger forms yet? And let's remember
that wolves, despite a "myriad other small predators", manage to subsist on
mice and other small mammals when they have to; they don't eat caribou,
moose and bison exclusively.
The pro-"pack-hunting" arguments, unfortunately, have become more and more
flimsy as this discussion goes on (can we leave inapplicable schools of
fish out of this please!), and the inability to even cede the point that
there might *possibly* be another viewpoint on the issue does nothing to
help make them more credible. The fossil evidence for "pack hunting" in
_Deinonychus_ (or any other theropod) is debatable at best; looked at
dispassionately, it does *not* support the idea. Also ignored is the fact
that the "sickle claw" did not appear overnight in _Deinonychus_, and must
have evolved over a long period of time, just as likely for a purpose other
than the commonly depicted, highly-suspect "meat slicer" we all know and
love. Stan Friesen's notion of "tree-climbing" is just as good an
explanation for the claw as "terminator". (Better, IMHO)
An awful lot of proposed behaviors for dinosaurs have been bandied about
over the years, a lot of them now defunct or questionable. F'rinstance...
Do we still believe that sauropods had to live most of their lives in water
to help buoy their massive bodies? Or that pachycephalosaurs butted heads
like mountain goats in rut? What about the "fact" that dinosaurs, like
their reptile relatives, simply abandoned their eggs immediately after
laying them? The list goes on. "Pack hunting" in theropods, long since
spread far beyond the original find of _Deinonychus_ that inspired the idea
(to encompass most other theropods it seems) is another such theory in need
of closer scrutiny.