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Fw: RE:anti-social tyrannosaurs

-----Original Message-----
From: TIM BOLLIER <troodon1@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Thursday, December 17, 1998 10:45 PM
Subject: RE:anti-social tyrannosaurs

>My battle with the flu this week has kept me in a dull mental
>I'm not sure anyone noticed a change) and thus my delay in responding.
>At 06:26 PM 12/10/98 -0600, Tim Bollier wrote:
>Last things first:
>>>  Please feel free to correct my mistakes in concepts. But if you must
>>>teacher and want to correct grammatical mistakes, spelling, or other
>>>"labels" that don't affect understanding the concepts, please reply off
>>>so the others aren't indulged by things
>>>that don't further anyones interest in dinosaurs.
>>Gee, to whom could that be directed...?  :-)
>Actually, it was NOT directed at you. You address issues and focus on the
>areas which are within your expertise. Thank you for taking the time to
>reply to my post. You directed your reply to the scientific aspects, not
>grammatical.Perhaps because I must be exact in programming to interface
>effectively with computers, I am over sensitive about syntax errors in my
>hobbies. This is obviously not a hobby for you, but a profession in which
>you excel and you have my deepest respect.
>>Well, I don't "play teacher", I AM a teacher.  As such, I do like to keep
>things accurate.  It was all in good fun, though, as Dwight Stewart himself
>admitted.  Also, as it was such a common mistake, I felt it was important
>get it on the list, because he wasn't the only one who does it.
>And a damn good teacher at that. I have learned almost as much relevant
>information from your replies and posts as any single book on dinosaurs.
>me (and I suspect others), your views strike a good balance by being fact
>based but not fact anchored.
>And the tuition is very reasonable.
>>Also, I don't tend to correct people's non-scientific grammatical
>except while editing or grading papers.  Heck, I make plenty myself.  But
>taxonomy IS part of science, and does have a bearing here).
>Agreed. I will be less defensive about my grammatical errors and take your
>advice with a glass of dry water.
>>>  If we only believe in the facts we can touch, then Newton, Einstein,
>>>Darwin,Sagan, and Dr. King were only dreamers and not visionaries. We
>>>need visions by great people so we will know what we are looking for as
>>>as why.
>>Too many paleontologists (particularly ones who get in the mass media a
>do not distinguish between their personal beliefs about dinosaurs and their
>world, and what can be demonstrated scientifically.  The lay public often
>doesn't know how to distinguish the two, and take as gospel anything these
>individuals say.
>>This is just as bad as the pre-Dinosaur Renaissance tacit acceptance of
>dinosaurs as cold-blooded, stupid, malformed monsters.  We should always be
>clear in distinguishing what we can demonstrate from the evidence, what we
>can infer from comparative anatomy and behavior, and what is idle
>speculation (appealing though it may be).  We should do this in general,
>we should do this here in particular, as this is not a "dinosaur chat
>it is, as Mickey Rowe has to point out every so often, a list dedicated to
>dinosaur *science*.
>One media -visible paleontologist said that velociraptors may have even
>killed for
>pleasure. Its effect on me was that I would never have the same respect for
>his opinion.
>There are those of us in the general public who can discern evidence based
>theories from loose speculation, but I agree with you--Professionals have
>implied responsibility to base opinions on the facts that their particular
>field uses. If one member of a profession gets publicity for an opinion not
>popular within his field, the other members attempts to "correct" the
>perception usually leads to a more confused public and undermines the
>credibility of the field. I suppose I lost hope for the general publics
>opinion years ago, but then again I do not depend on them for funding as
>much as some sciences do. I really empathise with NASA.
>>>   I believe tyrannosaurs may have lived in mixed social groups and that
>>>they probably exercised several social strategies during their long
>>>on earth. The environmental pressures that drive both evolution and
>>>would probably have shifted the best survival strategies  during the
>>>millions of years of their existence.
>>I would certain agree with these.
>> >  1. Large herds of herbivores probably gathered, if not year round,
>>>or mating/birthing or migratory purposes. The herds would have devastated
>>>the local resources of plant life rapidly, even assuming the vegetation
>>>regenerated rapidly.
>>(snip discussion of migration and so forth]
>>Agreed.  If any herbivorous dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous migrated,
>hadrosaurids and ceratopsids certainly seem to be the main candidates,
>they a) were large bodied animals and b) at least some species within each
>group are known to have gathered in vast numbers.
>>>Given the  probable migration of these herds, then at least some of the
>>>predators probably also followed them. But which ones? The  tyrannosaurs
>>>were one of if not the top predator in the late cretaceous. Would that
>>>affect whether or not they migrated?
>>Here are some other reasons to suspect that, if any Late K North American
>theropods migrated, it was probably tyrannosaurids:
>a) tyrannosaurids are large bodied animals with long legs: they could cover
>a lot more ground in a day than their contemporary smaller kin.
>b) tyrannosaurids would be more likely to have been able to take down large
>bodied prey (as in the theoretically migrating hadrosaurids and
>than their little cousins.
>>>Because I believed they scavenged first
>>>and hunted second (why risk injury needlessly)
>>>the lower food available might have forced some to follow the herds, but
>>Although I don't object to this belief, it is good you stated it as such.
>We really don't have a good idea of the relative frequency of predation vs.
>scavenging in modern carnivores, much less extinct ones.  _Crocuta crocuta_
>(the spotted hyena) was long thought to be primarily a scavenger, but the
>field studies (including direct field observations) of Kruuk demonstrated
>that some populations of hyenas get 70% of their food from predation, and
>Ngorongoro crater as much as 96%!
>>This shows the importance of doing science (observing, quantifying, etc.):
>it may overturn long held, and even seemingly secure, beliefs.
>Such as the theory about the tiger being solitary at all times (except
>mating). Somewhere in my 60-80 Wild Discovery tapes i have an episode which
>contradicted this theory, showing tigers sharing a kill. If memory serves
>me(wouldn't count on it this week), the film crew observed these tigers in
>close proximity for about a week. As our means of studying and gathering
>information improve, we are  forced to rethink our opinions. I believe most
>thinking people prefer discoveries that challange the old way of thinking
>instead of conforming to it. Most thinking people however do not reflect
>general public.
>>>So from my
>>>views, amateur be they may, this is how I see dimorphism and social
>>>strategies within tyrannosaurs.
>>An interesting scenario, and a detailed picture of the world of the
>>I don't have objections to scenarios and speculations: they are great.
>certainly do have a place in science.
>>What I do have objection to, though, is when people treat scenarios and
>speculations as superior to the evidence.  I object when people come up
>a speculation (appealing as it may be) and claim that it is the best
>or the only one that should be accepted.  You didn't do that, so I have no
>problem with it.  I don't think anyone else here would.
>>Keep on dreaming
>>Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
>I do try and base all my opinions on facts. I am a fan of science more than
>science fiction. I have spent a lot of my free time since college
>researching and studying my interests. Scientists ARE my heroes, not actors
>or athletes or musicians. Although not offended by your reference to "Keep
>on dreaming" I could not help but remember a quote form Winston Churchill
>(yes, another of my heroes!) after he finally assumed leadership of Great
>Britian on the eve of the second world war, "Therefore, although impatient
>for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts
>are far better than dreams."
>                                                            Tim Bollier