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Re: Another FAQ

Mike Taylor (mike@tecc.co.uk) wrote:

<Just how similar are related dinosaurs? Obviously this is a very
vague question, but here's an example: if we could see them in the
flesh, might a Tyrannosaurs rex and a Gorgosaurus libratus look sort
of as similar to each other as a lion and a tiger do? Or perhaps T.
rex and T. bataar are as alike as lions and tigers, and together they
are as similar to the various Gorgosaurus species as lions and tigers
are to, say, leopards and jaguars?
Moving further back down the tree, no-one who is remotely familiar
with extant mammals would ever confuse, say, a lion with a wolf, even
though they are both members of the order Carnivora. Would it be
similarly true that no-one would ever confuse the theropods
Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus?>

  There are some distinct cranial differences between *Allosaurus*
and *Tyrannosaurus*, and proportional conditions of the body, as well
as the forelimbs, that would make these two very distinctive all
fleshed out, even from a distance.

  The distinction between *Tyrannosaurus* and *Tarbosaurus* would be
a lot harder to dscribed unless we knew the skin patterning or
coloration or whatever other features are there ... the skull shapes
are identical, with minor differences that are not fuilly quantified
in *Tarbosaurus* that indicate the likelyhood that these two could be
confused with each other...

  Not so with *Gorgosaurus* and *Albertosaurus* compared to
*Tyrannosaurus*, in which skull shape, lachrymal horns, slender limbs
and a longer tail relatively give the animals a slightly different
appearance. In these animals, the skulls are the most distinctive. On
the other hand [or claw] it would be less distinctive to tell apart
*Gorgosaurus* and *Albertosaurus*, being a matter perhaps of the
distinction between the jaguar and the leopard, which still cause
people a visial confusion in the same frame (yes, I know how to tell
them apart, thank you :) and I know any zoologist worth his salt can
do the same at a glance). *Alioramus* and *Gorgosaurus* and
*Tyrannosaurus* might then be a matter of distinguishing cheetahs,
leopards, and lions....

Jaime A. Headden

  Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!

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