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Re: back to science




On Wed, 27 May 1998, Ralph Miller III wrote:

> In other words, not
> only is the nest not demonstrably bowl-shaped, but the shell hasn't been
> trampled to bits as in the nests of the presumably altricial _Maiasaura_
> young.  So this type of clutch is not the least bit consistent with a nest
> attendance hypothesis.

Inconsistent with _altriciality_ maybe, but totally consistent with
nest attendance--even if defense is the only activity engaged in (as in
crocs).  Indeed, saurapods would leave such a big signature (smells,
scuffs in sediment, sounds, and sights) that they would be preyed to
extinction if they did not defend (this is my view at least).

> Or have we come again to a place where
> the dinosaurs include members which are so far removed from anything alive
> that the patterns observed in the extant fauna don't apply?  Comments?

I think so.  At least with regard to the point of another post, that
extant herbivores provide good analogies for the benefit of precociality.
If saurapods defended their nests the nest site would be a zone of
relative security.  Probably placed in a location that afforded movement
for its big body (say, room to swing a sonic-boom making tail!), the nest
site might well afford more protection than a browsing parent (for whom a
hatchling might be practically invisible among vegetation).  In terms of
bringing offspring to maturity it may have been more economic to bring
feed to guarded babies than have them raided between steps.