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Re: Pubic Boots and Dino Nesting

Hi Waylon,

With the recent focus on the close relationship between birds and dinosaurs
coupled with the bipedal nature of birds ( as opposed to the sprawling,
quadrapedal stance of crocodilian stock ), it is easy to get swept away in
the paradigm shift, even more so with visually thinking artists.  Although
there are obviously significant anatomical modifications in the anatomy of a
bird as we know it ( not only in terms of flight capability but shift in
mass and associated hindlimb movement ), I still see some behaviours and
movements that I find comparable to what I might expect from extinct
terrestrial theropods.  Observation of crocodilians adds still more relevant
information on how we must think about dinosaurs and a combination of traits
from both forms must be our most reliable sources in understanding the
nature of terrestrial dinosaurs.  An additional word concerning mammals.  It
is often suggested that caution be used when comparing mammalian forms to
dinosaurs i.e.the classic sauropod / elephant comparison.  Obviously an
elephant isn't a dinosaur and artists have been criticized for draping
sauropods in elephantine skin from time to time, which is indeed something
to be wary of.  However, just because an elephant isn't a dinosaur doesn't
mean we can't develop some constructive ideas regarding similarities in
movement,  postulated behaviours, etc... There are no air tight ways to test
implied behaviours in extinct animals, but I still prefer reasonably thought
out activity in paleo art, to static, lateral view, anatomical restorations.
They too have an important place and value, however paleontology ( the study
of dead things ) can only be enhanced by adding a "breath of life".  Many on
this list would say "LIFE IS A CLADOGRAM".  I would say "LIFE IS A


Mike Skrepnick

: Pubic Boots and Dino Nesting

> To Michael Skrepnick:
> You know, about the use of the pubic boot in nesting,
> I was thinking the same thing last night before I went
> to bed. Sue has a nearly horizontal base of her pubic
> boot, parallel with the ground (which is what I would
> expect if they were using the boot to sit on), so
> maybe big females were doing just that....maybe they
> even had feathered areas around the boot that helped
> insulate the eggs (assuming they didn't cover them
> with vegetation like other dino nests) or something
> analogous to a brood patch. I doubt we'll ever know.
> One thing I would like to protest about dinosaur
> nesting behavior is that dinosaurs are NOT overgrown
> birds. Sure, they are modern bird ancestors....but
> they are also very close relatives of crocodiles.
> There seems to be this trend in paleontology where
> we're making dinosaurs more and more bird-like. They
> still have a little Euparkeria left in 'em. Yes, birds
> have just about every anatomical feature dinosaurs
> had, but we're talking about *primitive birds*. Modern
> birds are much different, and we can't make
> generalizations about dinosaurs based on bird
> behavior. Crocodilians probably retain the basic
> archosaurian breeding and nesting behaviors, so they
> should be looked to when speculating about dinosaurs.
> You could say that birds retain dinosaur
> breeding/nesting behavior, but birds have undergone
> such a great evolutionary radiation and adopted a new
> niche that no other vertebrate except pterosaurs have
> been able to master quite as well. I'm drifting off
> the topic, but I needed to vent that to someone. I
> just really feel that we are neglecting crocodilians
> and favoring bird behaviors for no good reason. If ANY
> animal is to be chosen as the closest living analogue
> to an Allosaurus, I would not choose a chickadee.....I
> would definitely opt for the saltwater crocodile. How
> about you?
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