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Re: night hunting

Toby White wrote:
> >I was in a dinosaur chatroom a couple nights ago, and the person I was
> >talking to
> >asked how likely it was for dinosaurs to hunt at night.  I've been
> >wondering about that myself, just haven't
> >had time to post it.  I think some of the smaller ones could hunt well
> >at night,
> >but I'm not sure.  Is there anything in the fossil record that could
> >support this idea?
> This has been speculated for some smaller theropods based on the projected
> size of the eye.  To stretch my recollection yet further, I think the same
> was  observed of some Antipodal dinosaurs which would have had to live in
> constant darkness for some portion of the year.  Anyone?
>   --Toby White

The large size of Troodontid eyes has been suggested to indicate
that it was a nocturnal hunter, perhaps of small mammals. As for
polar dinosaurs, the optic lobe of the hypsilophodontid Leaellynasaura
from south-east Australia appears to have been more highly developed
than that of hypsies from other parts of the world, and since it
has been estimated that that area of Oz would have had 3 to 5 months
of darkness every winter during the Early Cretaceous it has been
suggested that Leaellynasaura's eyesight was well adapted to this
gloomy environment. This of course assumes that they did not migrate
further north for the winter, but given the fragmented nature of
the Australian continent at the time (very high sea levels) perhaps
they couldn't move too far north even if they wanted to. Of
course hypsies were not predators (although I wouldn't put anything
past the Australian fauna, it always seems to be weird), but if
there were small herbivores around during the dark winters then
there's a good chance that predators were about too.
        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia

        Dinosaur Reconstructions:
        Australian Dinosaurs: