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Re: The absurdity, the absurdity (was: Cooperating theropods?)
>From: Chris Campbell <email@example.com>
>A dinosaur getting chewed on by its prey! Yeah, it's a good use, if
>don't get your throat ripped out by your intractable victim.
You're not proposing that the predator always wins, are you? Isn't it
reasonable to assume that, in that rare instance in which the predator
is doing it's work and gets nailed, both animals may die in a death
embrace and be preserved? Sure, the velociraptor was killed. But the
protoceratops was too.
>Don't forget the most important point: lots and lots of Deinonychus
>teeth and remains associated with Tenontosaurus skeletons.
Proving what? Figure it out for yourself putting Jurassic Park
fantasies behind you first.
>> You're presumably not proposing that the velociraptor could kill that
>> protoceratops with it's jaws.
>Uh, why not? If a tiger can kill an elephant all by its lonesome, a
>Velociraptor should be able to take out a Protoceratops.
Are you proposing that elephant are a common prey of tigers? Why is it
then that in ancient times elephants were regularly used in transport
precisely because of the protection they provided against tiger attack?
>>If dromaeosaurs hunted animals roughly their size or smaller (clearly
>>the most reasonable hypothesis),
>Not if they hunted in packs. See dogs/wildebeest/zebra, wolves/bison,
>tigers/elephants, lions/elephants/buffalo, etc.
Mammals with good social groups and relatively high intelligence all!
>>Why not quickly slit the belly of a lizard or mammal before popping
>>it in your mouth?
>Why not just bite its head off and be done with it? Why invest in a
>ol' claw if you can pick up the lizard anyway? It's a waste of time
Sure, that's possible too. You were proposing that dromaeosaurs could
not hunt smaller animals because they were all scooped up by smaller,
fleeter dinosaurs. Glad to see you're coming around.
Anyway, say you're a Deinonychus and a five-foot monitor lizard is
unfortunate enough to be around when you are. Are you going to pick up
the five foot monitor lizard and bite it's head off? Do you have any
experience with extant monitors? Go ahead and pick up a wild one and
see what it does. I'd suggest holding it down and slitting it open with
some implement to kill it. You might want to use a knife, but other
animals rely instead on large claws. Say, there *is* a use for the
digit II claw besides attacking huge animals!
>Yeah, but big animals go for bigger food.
A lioness is not above trying to scarf down a rodent now and then, and
not only in times of distress. It's been filmed.
>> You've left out many steps here.
>> We have to get them all together without mutual antagonism (which,
>> evidence suggests, their brains seems to have been incapable of),
>Incapable of mutual antagonism? I don't think so.
What I said was:
1) you have to get them all together without mutual antagonism.
2) their brains seems to have been incapable of getting together without
mutual antagonism. Theropods do not seem to have been very sociable
> Irregardless, you
>don't need to be bright to tolerate others.
No, but you do need to be bright to cooperate to the extent our
hypothesis requires. What you're proposing is not analogous to fish
schooling or ants operating in a hive.
>>and hungry at the same time.
>Uh, coordination? Daily cycles? Synchronization is ridiculously
Yes, exactly: "uh coordination." A trait shown by intelligent life
forms only. Do predators have daily feeding cycles? I thought they ate
when they were hungry. The whole pride gets a piece of the carcass
(because they're real pack hunters). Would manque pack hunters have
this synchronous need for food based on a high degree of cooperation and
>> We have to get them to select the same animal, particulalry difficult
>> the case of herd prey.
>Not really. One takes the lead and the others go with.
Leadership is part of the problem. How can there be *leadership* in a
group of accidental pack hunters?
>first selects the prey, and occasionally (or maybe often) things go
>FUBAR because they trip one another up.
FUBAR! Tango and Cash! What a stupid movie! That's the only thing I
remember from it too, though.
>Which can be done on instinct alone. Look for animal. Pick animal.
>Attack animal. Follow others if they get around to picking one before
The last part (follow others) is not necessary to the fish's attack
strategy, though. If alone it still may pick out a fish in the school
and eat it all on its own. What happens if dromaeosaurs follow this
programming? What happens if the dromaeosaur is by itself, and it comes
upon a tenontosaur? Does it then load *another* program?
>> We have to get them to attack the same animal in the shift pattern
>> you describe without interfering with each other (and, for that
>> without attacking each other).
>No reason they would attack each other. Interfering? Sure, they'd
>interfere. Who cares so long as the victim dies? We don't need
>perfection, here, just lots of stab wounds.
No more big gashes? How a hunting strategy evolves.
>>This requires that they each patiently wait out their particular role
>>in the attack (attacking when the tenontosaur is lurching toward the
>>deinonychus that just hopped off), watching what the others are doing.
>No, it doesn't. It requires them avoiding the part with the teeth and
>making sure they're not jumping on someone. IOW, stab prey, don't get
>bit. No coordination required.
So the deinonychus surround the tenontosaurus. On one side a
deinoychus jumps up, punctures a little hole, hops down. Ow, says the
tenontosaur,a nd turns to face it's attacker. Then another deinonychus
from the other side jumps up while the tenontosaur's attention is
diverted and punches another hole. Etc.
And this is all happening *coincidentally*? Good luck getting humans to
cooperate to that extent!
>You're trying to make it excessively complicated. If you broke a lion
>strategy down like this you'd wind up with ten times as many steps (who
>does the killing bite? Who chases? Who ambushes? Who harasses? It'd
>get really messy really fast).
I'd suggest that if I can propose decision points in an attack strategy,
they're probably there. And they probably only skim the surface. It's
demanding to hunt effectively in a group. That's why so few vertebrates
>Uh, that may be because they're HERBIVORES! Or, at most, insectivores.
>Most birds are not carnivorous! Talk about apples and oranges . . .
Well, that's interesting. How then does this bear on your initial
statement? Why then cite bird intelligence as applicable in the first
place? You seem to be all over the road on this one.
>> Greg Paul has also gone back and made the sauropods in his
>> illustrations spiny because there's some purported evidence
>> that *one* sauropod may have had spines.
>For God's sake, Larry, look at the picture. It's not a damn sauropod,
>it's a Tenontosaurus. A hadrosaur. Duck-billed dinosaur.
For God's sake? No need to get excited. You've entirely missed the
point: Illustrators may choose to reflect things in their work that
derive from little if any evidence. For instance, is there any proof
that Brachiosaurus had spines on its back? There's nothng wrong with
GSP proposing this, but are you going to point to it to prove that
brachiosaurus had spines?
>> See the archives of this list. Look for posts on the configuration
>> dromaeosaur forelimbs, particularly the limited range of their
>> and their limited ability to grasp.
>And note that (as nicely illustrated by the painting) they wouldn't
>a wide range of movement and wouldn't need to grasp at all for this to
>work. They hook their claws (nicely curved, note) over a dorsal ridge
>and hang on for a kick or two, then fall off and repeat.
Well, remember that a few days ago you had dromaeosaurs cutting prey in
half with mighty blows. Why? Because they've been *nicely illustrated*
doing so? I'd again suggest that you go back and look at the list
archives on dromaeosaur forelimbs for reasoned analysis. If I remember
incorrectly I invite you to tell me so; I'll learn something thereby.
But looking at the pictures doesn't always help our understanding so
(on the powerlessness of Tenontosaurus):
>> Until they crush your hindlimb or break some of your ribs or break
>> jaw or one of your forelimbs.
>HOW?!? No hooves, no horns, no tusks, no trunk, no flexible tail, no
>bite, nothing to crush with!
Defenseless tenontosaurs. Meat-on-the-table hadrosaurs. It's a wonder
they ever evolved in the first place. Big egg nests don't help you
here. Numbers only get vertebrates so far.
You can't imagine a tenontosaur in ornery mode stomping on a smaller
predator? Swacking it with its big tail? Why would the tail have to be
>Zebras don't need speed! They have *hooves!* Hooves are dangerous!
>Very, very dangerous. They are animals with powerful limbs,
>well-distributed weight, and hard, edged, pointy things on the end of
>their feet. They are armed to the teeth.
Oh. I didn't realize that Zebra stood and fought against lions.
I'd rather get kicked by a horse than stepped on by a tenontosaur.
(Concerning the "uh" mechanism:)
>I'm quite sure. Note that you've done this yourself.
Why, I've never "uh"-ified anyone.
> In fact, note
>that many prominant folks on this list do it often, for various
>reasons. Note that lectures in the middle of discussions are similarly
Just trying to offer some helpful advice. The "uh" thing is a bad habit
regardless of how many people on the list do it, so it might be a good
idea not to do it . Of course it's your God-given right to "uh" away to
the fullest extent of the law!
>No, there are no lures in my scenario. They just jump on the side
>without the head. There is zero need for coordination here.
Why isn't it a lure to scratch one side of the prey so the animals on
the other side then get a chance to scratch too? In your quest to make
this entire strategy "random" aren't you defining behavior too finely?
>No. No waves, just random attacks. No on-again, off-again movement
>which I meant taking shifts for pursuing animals, as evidenced by
>and African hunting dogs).
Why isn't left, right, left, right a pattern? If your distinction is
again too fine, remember that it may derive from an agenda instead of
> Don't minimize the complexity of what you're proposing
>There's nothing to minimize because there's nothing to it.
Piece of cake! There's nothing to a bunch of animals hopping atop a
larger animal in waves and puncturing it to death? I'd tend to
>> >Says who? Who says the Deinonychus killed weren't killed due to
>> >own ineptitude? The Tenontosaur doesn't get points if it killed
>> >by falling on them.
>> Says most of the killer raptor enthusiasts.
>I don't recall saying it.
I don't remember defining you as "most raptor enthusiasts."
>That's the only one that makes sense to me, actually; how would the
>Tenontosaurus kill them, anyway? Nibble them to death?
It'd certainly have time to do just that while the Deinonychus were
racing ahead with their poking holes strategy.
>> A two "Uh" message. I must be *really* dumb.
>Larry, stick to the message at hand. Criticizing mannerisms and/or
>grammar is much poorer etiquette than using "uh" in the first place.
I'm suggesting to you is that you do so yourself without, uh,
>> Wolves regularly take smaller animals as well as large ones,
>> and wolves are real pack hunters.
>And lions don't, and they're real pack hunters. Your point?
This is certainly incorrect.
>a variety of species running around (as is the case in Africa, where
>social predators don't go for smaller prey nearly as much as their
I believe this to be incorrect as well.
>What, the Velociraptor and the Protoceratops? The Protoceratops wasn't
>smaller; IIRC, it was actually a bit larger than its attacker.
Yes indeed. A bit larger, not five-six times larger.
>> I have this thing against wild speculation employing a legion of
>> mutually dependent, rather forced rationales.
>Forced? I don't see how jumping onto a hadrosaur and stabbing it is
>forced. You're making the concept much more elaborate than it needs to
>be so I can see why you might think that,
This sort of group behavior is complex. Once again, to rationalize the
dumb-but-still-pack-hunting dromaeosaur, you are:
1) emphasizing the complexity and planning needed for extant mammals to
engage prey in a pack, and
2) waving off as "a piece of cake" pack behavior by droameosaurs that
would in fact have looked at least as complicated as a wild dog or
hyanea hunt but was according to you all programmed in by instinct.
>Certainly simpler than making a strategy
>of attacking prey animals head on in an effort to get your claw into
Well now, why do you surmise that Tugrugeen indicates that the
velociraptor in question attacked its prey head-on?
> If anything, you've shoehorned my explanations
>into the pelts of mammalian equivalents.
The real problem being that you can't attribute mammalian pack behavior
to reptiles due to a long string of mutually contingent instinctive
>> And so Pirahna joined microbes, sharks, birds and ants in the group
>> animals instructing us about terrestrial pack predation.
>No, just strategies involving bringing down prey by force of numbers.
Their manner of doing so tells us nothing about a terrestrial vertebrate
>> Which modern predators are these? Which fossil finds?
>All the Tenontosaurus finds associated with Deinonychus teeth.
Which have nothing, not even a peep, about predation.
>> >Which is done so often in modern animals (most especially
>> >it's truly staggering.
>> Example? Let's stay with terrestrial vertebrates, please.
>Just about ny large herbivore you care to name. Lots of smaller
>herbivores as well. IF you want a big carnivore, cheetahs. They do
>coordinate. They trip one another up something fierce, and don't have
>much to speak of in the way of teamwork.
>Look, this is going in circles and getting somewhat heated, so I
>we call it quits (or take it to private e-mail) before someone hunts us
>down and shoots us.
Discussion like this is precisely what this list is about. If you feel
it's getting too circular, perhaps we should lay out the major points of
contention to avoid "oh yeah, well echidna do *too* eat worms in the
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