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Pack-hunting theropod redux

New list members may have noted a light level of contributions from
the long-standing regular posters this morning.  That's because
they've all killed themselves.

---Chris Campbell <Sankarah@ou.edu> wrote:

(at first quoting me)

> > The argument that cooperative hunting by theropods was *impossible*
> > was never made by me or, to the best of my recollection, by anyone
> > else.
> Seeing as how a huge part of the thread dealt with therapod
> intelligence, the mechanics of using that sickle claw to kill, size
> ratios of dromaeosaurs and their purported prey, and comparable ratios
> for modern predators and their prey, I think it's obvious this
> is ludicrous.

It's important to see the statement you're responding to and respond
accurately to it, particularly if you're going to use words like

What I said was that no one in the thread ever indicated that
pack-hunting by theropods was an *impossibility,* as you've maintained.

You've responded saying that we discussed certain points at length, so
my statement is "ludicrous."

My argument was that the physical evidence and the behavior of extant
animals in the phylogenetic bracket of the dinosaurs do not in any way
*support the hypothesis* dinosaurs hunted cooperatively.

I believe I mentioned that trilobites may very well have joined
fraternal orders.  Not impossible, but unsupported by the evidence.

>  Such claims were in fact made, by you, on numerous
> occasions.  You claimed dromaeosaurs were too dumb to do it,
> incabable of doing it, and too small to do it successfully.

I didn't, and don't, claim to have a Deinonychus in my back yard. 
That's what I'd need to make the arguments you've ascribed to me.  

I did, however, maintain that the tenontosaur site does not offer
physical proof that the deinonychus group (if that's what it was at
all) killed that tenontosaurus cooperatively.  I then went on to look
at extant animal behavior.  Animals that do hunt cooperatively
generally exhibit very different traits than those of these animals.  

>  When each
> of these points was refuted,

That's a bit cheecky, n'est pas?  Note that I've never maintained that
any of your points were "refuted," (with the exception of the lions
hunting down adult elephants).  

It's important not to confuse an argument made for an argument won.

> and when Brian and others argued
> convincingly that the overall argument was moot since it could never
> proven either way, you changed your tune.

My tune's never changed.  It's still the theme from the Mary Tyler
Moore show.

Well, your statement above did not jibe with what I recalled, so I
went back and checked the archives and here's what Brian Franczak said
when responding to you:

"The pro-"pack-hunting" arguments, unfortunately, 
have become more and more flimsy as this discussion 
goes on (can we leave inapplicable schools of fish 
out of this please!), and the inability to even cede 
the point that there might  *possibly* be another 
viewpoint on the issue does nothing to help make 
them more credible. The fossil evidence for "pack
hunting" in _Deinonychus_ (or any other theropod) is 
debatable at best; looked at dispassionately, it 
does *not* support the idea. Also ignored is the fact
that the "sickle claw" did not appear overnight in 
_Deinonychus_, and must have evolved over a long 
period of time, just as likely for a purpose other
than the commonly depicted, highly-suspect "meat 
slicer" we all know and love. Stan Friesen's notion 
of "tree-climbing" is just as good an explanation 
for the claw as "terminator". (Better, IMHO)." 

You're right: That sure did put me in *my* place!

> Actually, it was Brian who waded in and baldly stated this, at which
> point the thread promptly ended.  Your argument was (for a time,
> that such a thing could not happen.

To clarify, it was that the evidence does not support the hypothesis.
> I fail to see why you'd bother bringing up the elephants at this late
> date, as they're irrelevant to your case.


> The point is moot since, as was pointed out in the thread in question,
> many modern predators take on prey much larger than themselves.  The
> best example was actually African Hunting Dogs, 


Unfortunately, people have read these "facts" about the Savuti lions
offered up by you and others, either initially or on the archives, and
are now perpetuating this sorry misunderstanding of lion behavior. 
Thus the importance of clearing it up.  Paul Willis once noted here
the importance of accuracy in our discussion, as the internet is
increasingly used as a tool by researchers who write about these topics.

                      *  *  *

Those newer members who've been intrigued by this talk of a long list
argument have only seen the tip of the iceberg!  Want to see the
amazing pack-hunting fish Brian's quote refers to, offered up as
evidence for the possibility of pack-hunting theropods?  Want to see
the amazing sickle claw that magically transformed, onlist no less,
from a vicious slashing weapon to a somewhat-less-vicious poking
weapon?  And can anyone forget "uh"?  Well, go here, at your own risk:


Look for the pack-hunting thread.  In April, it became "The Absurdity,
the Absurdity."  Have fun!  The argument, and considerably more, is
all there.  Judge for yourself, and decide whether you consider
speculation of pack hunting by theropods to be responsible.  It's all
there.  I won't be getting into it again.  (Collective sigh of relief
on the list -- there will be at most one more post on this topic!)

"Language is a virus from outer space."

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