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RE: Dinosaurs to birds



This is slightly "tangent" to the subject, but the Animal Channel had a very
good program about dogs, in which they went into canine evolution in depth,
including some events that favored canines for long-term survival.  BTW:
canines were
"trees down" and the modern dog & wolf are not separate species.  Yes: the
original canines were arboreal & looked VERY much like the felines of their
time
(circa 35 MYA).  Of course, no feathers or protofeathers have been found on
any basal canal fossils (yet). :-)  "Luck" per se was not mentioned as a
canine strategy for surviving the extinction of other lines, but diversity &
being a
"jack of all trades" most certainly was.  They went into the morphology of
canine teeth in some detail & pointed out the features that allowed canines
to be primary carnivores, but secondary omnivores quite effectively.  Also
sited was the fact that canines are not purely predator or scavenger, but
opportunistic.
Perhaps the animals that survived the mass KT extinction shared some
survival strategies with canines?  Primarily, I am thinking about the "being
a jack of all trades" quality here.  Perhaps the ability to exploit diverse
niches simply amplifies into a critical survival strategy at a time of mass
extinction?  
While, during a time of more gradual change, this same quality may be less
important?

Dwight


        -----Original Message-----
        From:   Philidor11@aol.com [SMTP:Philidor11@aol.com]
        Sent:   Saturday, January 23, 1999 8:12 AM
        To:     Dwight.Stewart@VLSI.com
        Cc:     dinosaur@usc.edu
        Subject:        Re: Dinosaurs to birds

        In a message dated 1/23/99 3:06:36 AM Eastern Standard Time,
        Dwight.Stewart@VLSI.com writes:

        << Individual cases of luck, where
                one particular specimen survives, yet not another; I can
understand. >>

        I remember a documentary in which cheetahs (?) were shown to be
descended from
        a very few mating pairs after some ancient catastrophe; something
about the
        amount of genetic variation over time.  Though the amount of time
from KT to
        now is a lot longer, does this approach help answer the question
about the
        number of survivors in a given species?