[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Titanosaur eggs

Betty Cunningham wrote:

> in MAMMALS the juvenile face is preadapted for cuteness.  That is -
> large eyes and snubby snout.  This triggeres nurtering behavior.  These
> facial proportions grow out/become the adult morph usually within the
> first year (us humans are genetically deficient in this)

This old shoe of cuteness has been around for a long time, but I suspect
cause and effect have been mixed up. The neotenous features we call
"cute," which include large head, big eyes, and a short snout are in
fact common among vertebrates whether or not there is parental care. 

> This juvenile face structure is not a survival trait commonly found in
> BIRDS (baby birds being some of the ugliest damn things you ever saw)
> but is found in CROCODILES.

I disagree. Baby chickens, ducks and other precocious birds are VERY
cute. And while altricial bird babies are ugly by our standards, they
still have the big heads, big eyes, and short snouts. Ugly or not, they
receive extensive parental care. Larval fish, neonate lizards and
snakes, mammals, and yes, some of the known embryonic dinosaurs all show
this. It looks like ontogeny sets the stage for the look of the neonate.
They grow oversized eyes and heads because that's the way the tissues
develop best in preparation for life. Then in animals where parental
involvement evolves, the parent's learn, or evolve appropriate
behaviours and responses to this look. But that's secondary.

> Maiasaurs at least seem to show the large eyes and snubby snout in the
> juveniles, but that's no guarantee across species lines.  So it's tough
> to say whether sauropod juveniles would show this 'cuteness' trait or
> show the fully adult morph of the skull.  These are the first ones after
> all.

Jack Horner takes this as evidence of parental care, but if I am correct
in my reversal of cause and effect, there isn't truly a correlation.
Instead we should see similar "cuteness" in most of the dinosaur babies.
This doesn't help the scientists much, but for artists attempting to
recreate baby animals where no baby skulls are known, it helps.

William Monteleone