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Re: Genetic and Behavioral Dino Information
Grant Harding asked:
> I would assume that variables such as gene pool diversity, mating
> difference, % of genes from father, likelihood to share food, amount
> of roaming, amount and type of turning, persistence, stealth, and %
> of female offspring are unknown and virtually unknowable for any
> prehistoric animal. Is this a correct assumption?
I can't help notice these are some of the organism parameters in
Yes, most of these parameters are almost unknowable, but not all.
Thinking specifically of non-avian dinosaurs:
Gene Pool Diversity:
If there is a fairly large sample of one species from the same place
and time, you could measure some index of morphological variability.
This probably could not be translated into any biochemical statistic,
but you wouldn't need to. You would have to eliminate sex and
age-related differences, and estimate how much of the remaining
variability was genetic.
I get the impression that non-avian theropods at least were unusually
Mating Difference (the maximum genetic difference between mates):
Probably proportional to gene pool diversity.
% Genes From Father:
With a very few exceptions, extant vertebrates get almost exactly half
their genes from their fathers. So 50% is a pretty safe bet.
Likelihood To Share Food:
Maybe some parents shared food with their offspring. And possibly a
few theropods shared food in packs. Neither has been demonstrated.
Most adult vertebrates don't share food.
Amount Of Roaming:
Most dinosaurs would have been able to walk around very efficiently, so
they were able to roam. It has been suggested that some migrated and
that some were territorial, but there isn't much evidence for either.
Amount & Type Of Turning:
There are a few trackways which show one dinosaur following another,
but perhaps not far.
Apart from the effects of size, it's hard to say much about stealth.
Anything which hunted small, agile animals such as mammals would need
to be stealthy.
Some small to medium-sized theropods like Compsognathus, Troodon and
Ornithomimus might have hunted nimble prey.
% Female Offspring:
50% is usual, but there are numerous exceptions. Sex differences can
be seen in some species, which allows adult sex ratios to be estimated.
Ratios at hatching may differ though. Fossils of hatchlings are rare,
and hard to sex.
If I recall correctly, Tyrannosaurus rex seems to have a preponderance
of males as adults, Triceratops is about balanced.
All the best,
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