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Re: Species & Giraffe necks

"Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." wrote:
> put the dentary on a flat surface: if you can rock it back and 
> forth, it is a lion; if you can't, it's a tiger. 
> (Incidentally, this makes _Smilodon_ a sabre-toothed "tiger" :-).

wouldn't the damn BIG dentaries get in the way of ANY rocking? (humor)

> Incidentally, lions & tigers can interbreed and produce living offspring.  I
> don't know how interfertile these so-called "tigrons" and "ligers" are, 
> though.

They are mules.  There are a couple of such crosses travelling with the
Pickle family circus and I asked once. The (older) male was maned like a
young lion and striped lightly on it's forehead-the females were all
lightly striped (rather the color of the juvenile spots).
That circus also have a couple of zebra/horse crosses that show both
morphs-the stripey donkey-looking things and the stripey pony-looking
things.  I have picts somewheres of both.

> Implications for dinosaur paleontology:
> We have two closely related forms with very different external appearances
> and very different behaviors.  If tigers were extinct but lions survived, we
> might assume that tigers were maned pack hunters: if vice versa, we might
> assume that lions were maneless solitary or small-group hunters.  It shows
> that when we find evidence for some behaviors in the fossil record (i.e.,
> evidence for pack hunting in _Deinonychus_), we should not automatically
> assume that all of its closest relatives (_Velociraptor_, _Utahraptor_,
> etc.) had the same behavoirs.
> On the other paw, certain other behaviors are shared between lions and
> tigers.  Some, like locomotion and the mechanics of predation, are closely
> tied in to the musculo-skeletal system.  It might be easier to recover these
> behaviors from the sort of evidence that remain in the fossil record.

As I understand it (from my Comparitive Anatomy professor MANY years
ago) the skulls of lions bred in captivity differs STRONGLY from their
wild counterparts-primarily due to unexercised muscle formation of the
jaws.  They don't get the work out the wild ones do so the face is not
as heavily developed while growing up, which effects bone growth.
No one ever told me if the same were true of tigers...

-Betty Cunningham

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