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Re: Pack behavior: just a thought ...

I wonder how often modern reptiles injure limbs without necessarily dying
as a result.  As  reptiles don't have a real high metabolism, they may be
able to wait  a few months while a leg heals enough to hunt again.  An
injured dinosaur may have been able to do the same.  It could have lived
on fat stores and depended on no one else while healing.  This might
re-ignite an endo versus exothermic debate.  Similarly, if it were a
scavenger and had access to a sufficient food supply it may have been able
to recuperate as long as it could avoid predators.  I suppose that going
after smaller prey may still have been possible even with a broken leg.
Again, alternate explanations may do an equal job of explaining an
observation.  Even among modern mammalian pack hunters, injuries severe
enough to limit mobility and feeding are usually fatal, so it may be tough
to find enough healed fractures to prove anything, but keep trying.

Matthew Bonnan wrote:

> Hey folks:
> 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!
> Matt Bonnan
> Dept. Biological Sciences
> Northern Illinois University