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Re: [Re: The Cretaceous Middle-East]



    I thought somebody said that Asian dinosaurs were out, since the Middle East
wasn't attached to Africa back then.
    Allosaurs were common in Africa, though, so we can speculate about them.
Physically, they probably wouldn't be much different from the allosaurs that 
lived
in Africa before the Extinction.  Long tail, two legs, little arms is the way
predatory dinosaurs are built, and I doubt that this paradigm (ooo, but word)
would change.  These new allosaurs might have longer necks and better senses of
smell and sight in order to find food in the desert, and since the desert is
well-nigh uninhabitable during the day, these dinosaurs would probably be
nocturnal.
    Living somewhere as harsh as the desert (and extremely isolated) might call
for some interesting physical changes, but I think behavioral changes are more
useful.   Certainly, large predators in a place where food supplies are as low 
as
they would be in the Yemen deserts would need to develop strict behaviors
regarding territory, so as to avoid competition with co-specifics.  They would 
not
be able to afford to be finicky, and so would be rather more omnivorous then 
their
ancestors.  Because the area where they live is so small, these dinosaurs would
have to work very hard to avoid inbreeding. A complex mating ceremony, where the
prospective spouses figure out how closely related they are to each other might 
be
a way of dealing with such inbreeding.
    Here is an interesting though: harsh (and more importantly, rapidly 
changing)
environments require flexibility, either through physiology or behavior.  
Insects
make do with evolving forms that can cope with anything.  Mammals and birds (and
possibly dinosaurs) adapt to rapidly changing environments by piling up complex
behavior.  Behavior is easier to evolve them bodies, and once an overarching
behavior has been created, it can be readily adapted to suit new needs.  There 
is
a theory that human intelligence evolved to cope with the shifting climates of
Africa, as it changed from forest to grassland before the ice age, similar
behavioral changes could have taken place with the dinosaurs.  Many large 
african
animals (besides humans, that is) are pretty smart.  Elephants, baboons, and 
lions
all have really elaborate behaviors.  Of course, some animals, like cheetahs and
alligators have downplayed intelligence and use their physiology to stay on top,
but if the climate of Africa were to suddenly shift, it would be the intelligent
creatures that would have the advantage.  That's something to think about.

Dan