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Giant mammal hair (was Re: DOWNY STEGOSAURS)

At 09:04 AM 10/14/98 -0400, Ronald I. Orenstein wrote:

>>2. Does a heavy coat better protect a rhino from marauding hyenas and
>>lions, or does a thick, armor-like hide? (And when the hide is that
>>thick, does hair then become redundant or useless?)
>Remember that sheer size protects adult rhinos, probably better than their
>hide does.

Let's also remember that recently extinct members of at least two large
mammal lineages, elephantids and rhinoceratids, were pretty darn hairy:
_Mammuthus_ and _Coelodonta_, respectively.  And, lest we think that hairy
multi-tonne mammals are strictly mammoth-steppe inhabitants, there are also
the tropical giant ground sloths to consider.

Out knowledge of the distribution of hairiness vs. hairlessness in
large-bodied mammals is sorely hindered by the fact we are looking at a VERY
recently depauperate fauna.

(Or, in short, damned if I know what's going on... ;-)

Finally, a new stupid dinosaur joke:

How do you get down off a stegosaur?
Hey, you figured out how to get up on one, YOU figure out a way to get down...

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661