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Brent Jones wrote:

> < Jaime A. Headden wrote:
> I'm going to jump on this one a little. :)>
> <<Pygmy species would abound, and they would evolve
> ceratin characteristics to better utilize their
> environment, but would their evolution lead towards
> the truly bizarre? (I know, what is bizarre to a human
> may not be so bizarre for a dinosaur that has survived
> in a small refuge in Yemen...)>>
> >  First, maybe I should point out that both _then_ and
> now, the Arabian sub-continent was rather large, and
> bigger than most countries of Europe and certainly
> much bigger than nearly every recognized environment
> that produced dwarfed forms. Dwarfism in fossils only
> occurs if the originals were particularly large, so
> you may have dwarf sauropods (e.g., *Malawisaurus*,
> *Magyarosaurus*) but you wouldn't neccessarily have
> dwarfed *Ornitholestes.* On the other hand, take
> *Raphus* (a didiculine pigeon) and *Geochelone*
> (including a Cuban form related to the Galapagos forms
> and some Indopacific forms?), giant representatives of
> their relative clans, and developing on relatively
> more restricted habitats than Arabia.
> Okay, but I was operating under the assumption that this was a small, 
> secluded community within Yemen, not neccessarily the whole sub-continent!
> <<Besides, to make these dinosaurs really recognizable
> to the general public, they would have to evolve along
> fairly "normal" lines: pygmy tyrannosaurs, with tiny
> forelimbs ending in two tiny claws, huge head in
> comparison with the rest of the body, etc;>>
> <  Everyone wants tyrannosaurs, I can't imagine why. I
> would start with smaller aublysodontine forms, rather
> than tyrannosaurine forms, anyway.... :)>
> Huh? No tyrannosaurs? Would the general public buy it? Sorry, my museum 
> experience is showing... : o
> <<pygmy ceratopians, with (perhaps) more frills,
> shorter horns (less likely to entangle in the smaller,
> cramped environment);>>
> <  Not in modern Arabia, they wouldn't. Even forms in
> relatively forested areas, such as the Judithian and
> Edmontonian ceratopsians of Montana and Alberta do not
> have relative reductions in the size of the horns,
> even the smaller ones like *Chasmosaurus* or
> *Anchiceratops.*>
> Got it - I'm still new at this whole gig! ;)
> <<pygmy duckbills, with crests that are less ornate,
> but can be applied to a more defensive use;>>
> <  *Tsintaosaurus* with a reinforced impaling spike?>
> Maybe make a great marketing toy - the back crest could be made to open 
> bottles of Tsintao beer?
> <<pygmy troodonts, with bigger eyes, two grasping hands
> and, following recent fantasizing, their own language
> and simple tools. Who knows?>>
> <  Wouldn't be neccesary, these fellows max at around 6
> feet already, most quite small and delicate. A _giant_
> troodonts (upwards of 10 to 15 feet) would be more
> impressive, and insular environments would breed these
> to some degree. Besides, studies in rthe
> communications between crows and use of tools by them
> and other corvine passerine birds have been carried
> out, and circus-exemplified African grey macaws may be
> the smartest of birds with delicate tool-use and
> problems solving skills that goes beyond crows. Just
> adapt.
>   For excellent speculation, Dougal Dixon is a must,
> as Darren Naish could tell you, and Greg Bear stepped
> away from the all-consuming need to have tyrannosaurs
> by, and wait for it ... making up his own dinosaurs,
> including a 25-foot tall phorusrhacid.... :)>
> I wonder if the "all-consuming need" is a bad thing - by having a lure ("Ooh, 
> a T rex, mommy!"), and by adding other families, some knowledge could be 
> transmitted more easily. As an example, look at Dinosaur from this past 
> sping/summer movie season: no T rex, but many kids who saw the artwork before 
> the movie thought the carnotaurs were good old tyrannosaurs; then they saw 
> that these dinos weren't the old favorite, and Disney then used some 
> lesser-known dinos (Pachyrhinosaurus? Mixing with Iguanodon? No T rex? At 
> least the toys included some "evil raptors"!) in the mix. I hoped that this 
> effort would at least introduce the general public to the idea that there 
> were MANY different kinds of dinos, not just the old favorites (T rex, 
> Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, etc).
> How about introducing some dwarf sauropods into the environment? I figured 
> that this miniature refuge would have to be at least somewhat arboreal (to 
> hide it from watching eyes above...), and these could be the browsers - but 
> did they last to the end of the Cretaceous?
> Brent : )
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