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Re: Continental predators, etc.


From: "David Marjanovic" <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
Reply-To: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
To: "The Dinosaur Mailing List" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Re: Continental predators, etc.
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 15:58:45 +0200

> > Generally speaking prospective prey will often be "aggressive" when
> > flight is not practicable. This is often successful since predators
> > will, generally speaking, avoid attacking any prey which is even
> > moderately dangerous.
> Yes, if they have a choice.  This is often not the case, however.  The
> fossil record is loaded with evidence of "arms races".  Such escalation
> could only occur if envelopes were being pushed.

I can't think of _unequivocal_ fossil evidence of arms races at the moment.
The most famous example, the cursorial adaptations of horses, are regarded
by ?some as adaptations for migrating rather than running.

Keep in mind that Smiledon critter that cohavbited with horses, now found in the La Brea tarpits and its coeval predatory friend, the dire wolf. Of course, horse running to migrate rather than avoiding being a meal makes sense? I own a horse - they don't run much of anywhere, except to get away : Flight or Fight....

> >There is a basic asymmetry here since the prey > > risks its life while the predator only risks missing a meal and is > > therefore probably unwilling to take more than a small risk. > > In tough times, missing a meal means risking your life.

But such tough times are rare.

You cannot be actually serious? Tough times are the daily norm for a predator, and for the prey alike. It's a tough world out there, away from Starbucks, and double mocha lattes served up warm. You miss far more meals when you are hunting than you manage to catch. Check the stas for the annual PA deer slaughter - Bambi is winning! The only chubby predators I've seen lately are coyotes that have migrated to Indian, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Garbage left out at curbs doesn't run as fast as a jackrabbit. ;^)

=00=  =00=  =00=  =00=
Marilyn D. Wegweiser, Ph.D.
CMC Research Associate
Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology
Cincinnati Museum Center
Geier Collections and Research Center

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