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Pack behavior: just a thought ...
With this on-going theropod hunting thread, and hypotheses and
speculations abounding, I thought I'd throw my hat in with a
hypothesis. I have no idea how well this could be tested, but it's
worth a try. Skeptics please begin firing away:
If an animal is within a larger collective group, it may be taken
care of by the other animals in that group if it has sustained an
injury preventing it from hunting. If we were to find a Deinonychus
with a severely broken but healed leg wound, we might be on a path to
saying something concrete about their behavior: with such a bad leg,
about the only way such a dinosaur could get food would be if
something else brought it to him/her.
I am not a theropod expert, but there seem to be quite a few of you
on this list, so have at it.
Remember, our null hypothesis is no hunting behavior, so if we find
the kind of evidence I suggest, we may have some support for the
alternative hypothesis: pack behavior. Plus, it is an observable,
testable phenomena, other researchers can confirm it (or reject it),
it is falsifiable, and it has predictive power: if we find these major
fractures and heal marks in known pack predators, and this feature can
be correlated definitely with pack behavior, our finding it in some
dinosaurs may suggest that they were pack hunters too.
Yes, I know, there is a lot to be desired here, but take a stab at
it, no holds barred. And yes, I should be doing my research, but I
just thought of this and wanted to lend support as well as skepticism
to the pack hypothesis.
Whattaya think? Come on, tear this baby down!
Dept. Biological Sciences
Northern Illinois University