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Re: Dromeosaurid behavior........Pack hunting! (long)

At 04:10 PM 4/28/99 -0500, "Megaraptor" wrote:
>I'm glad someone agrees with me.  There are no real disadvantages to the
>pack hunting life style.

How about:
1. Competition with your siblings for food resources and mates.
2. Large necessary "home range" than an individual.

for a couple?

>In a pack you have:
> 1.A close knit family that helps in the care of the young
> 2.Several eyes on the look out for danger.
> 3.You are able to bring down larger prey and able to feed better.
>The discovery of the Tenontosaur skeleton and the several D.antirrhopus
>skeletons only proves that at least on species of dromeosaurids hunted
>in packs.

Unfortunately, it doesn't prove it.  It *could* be consistant with a Komodo
dragon-model: one or two individuals bring down a prey item, then others
(who were not involved with the kill nor are associated with killers by
bloodline) come by to scavenge at the carcass.

Also, I think that the site (where the babies were feeding on bones on large
individuals) to which you refer is *NOT* a dromaeosaur site: it is Bakker's
allosaur ("Wyomingraptor") site.  Different dinosaur entirely.

Yes, there are advantages to pack hunting.  However, there are advantages to
being a solitary hunter, too.  Or an "opportunistic gang hunter" (not an
organized pack of close kin, but random members of a population who converge
on a kill site: sharks, for instance).

In Nature it is very rare for a single strategy to be "The Best".  That is
one of the reasons for the vast diversity of life now and in the past.

Incidentally, I think that Ostrom & Maxwell's work does show that
_Deinonychus_ was a pack hunter.

However, demonstration of pack hunting in one species of dromaeosaur by no
means shows that *all* dromaeosaurids were pack hunters: after all,
_Panthera leo_ is a pack hunter par excellence, but its very close relative
_Panthera tigris_ is a solitary or pair hunter for the most part.

Pack hunting is a specialized behavior, and it is contingent on the person
proposing pack hunting for a particular fossil species to show some sort of
evidence (taphonomic, for instance) supporting that hypothesis.  Otherwise,
the more common behaviors of solitary or "gang" hunting should be considered
more likely.

Hope this helps.

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