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Re: Statistics and the fossil record

John V. Jackson wrote:

<A lot of people are saying they're not sure if stats can be applied
to fossils. I would be more impressed if someone gave me an answer to
the question of why so many small pterosaurs are found in the J and
not the K, but pinnants (except Archae) are found in the K but not the

  It is possible the old evolutionary paradigm can be applied here:
competition kills. There were probably lots of small pterosaurs
flitting around the allosaurs' backyards, just annoying the heck out
of 'em. So those crafty little allos conspired with some snap-wristed
little fellow called Orni [short for Ornitholestes or some other wierd
name] (the allo could never find out, because there seemed to be a few
different tyopes of this creature around, one also calling himself
Coel). That crafty little Orni probably managed to persued his cousin
Compso (over long-distance, of course) to get a friend called Archie
to tell all of his friends to start evolving.

  "Hey, all you boid-brains on those islands! We've got some old
fashioned flyin' lizards think' they can mess with us! Whjast say we
all go snatch up their toif?!"

  Of course, all the other Archies agreed, and soon, there were no
more pterosaurs in a little burg called Solhofen. The pterosaur bodies
nearly littered the lagoon and seashore beds, and there were a few
Archie casualties, and Compso was gunned down, plus a cousin in France.

  Meanwhile, back on the farm, Orni was congratulating himself, and
the allos were planning a big celebratory party when bang! Whap!
BOOM!, the Tithonian ended. Oh well. Now, the Valanginian sees a new
era. Birds swarm the skies, and realizing their bitter defeat, the
pterosaurs realize they can only win by growing big, so as to keep
those feathered fiends from marauding the multi-kilo range. Otherwise,
the world'd be doomed. For the pterosaurs anyway. Well, the birds'
problems were solved by something called the KT Event and we're all
here choking on the sedimentary dust, wondering where all the girls

  Hoo-baa! So, to re-phrase an ancient Darwinian axiom, "Competition

  Not bad, maybe John Burke'll see this, make him smile.


Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
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