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Re: biggest predators (Allosaurid "Dynasty")

I completely agree with all your points. That is why I only narrowed it down to Family Allosauridae, and noted that it is a close call (which future discoveries may alter).
However, I have become rather impressed with the Family Allosauridae in particular, which not only has the most contenders for "biggest" theropod, but also produced these contenders over a long period of time. If Tyrannosaurus was "a king", it seems appropriate to point out that Allosaurids produced a more extensive dynasty of kings.
------Ken Kinman
P.S. Spinosaurus sounds like a contender for "longest head", but as for how long and "hefty" the whole animal was, I suppose it is unwise (but not silly) to speculate too much on that at the present time.
From: "Jeffrey Martz" <jeffmartz@earthlink.net>
Reply-To: jeffmartz@earthlink.net
To: "Dinosaur" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Re: biggest predators (Allosauridae wins)
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 08:18:38 -0600

Ken Kinman wrote... > Some people might think it is silly, but eventually statisticians will > probably be able to calculate which achieved the largest size, and > approximately how large the biggest specimen might have been (and > statistically the largest one probably got killed by a younger dinosaur > somewhat smaller or died of natural causes and got scavenged). The biggest > almost certainly didn't fossilize, so we will really never know.

"Probably" is a strong word considering that we will never have more
then a tiny percentage of all the individuals of any of these taxa that ever
lived, and that the majority of them will (barring the discovery of a really
spectacular bone bed) be incomplete, so that measurements must be estimated.
This is somewhat questionable ground for pinning the ribbon on the largest
(on average) species, although it may someday be possible to be pretty
confident about the largest (known) individual.
Check out:


    It may not be the greatest site for illustrating uncertainties about
maximum attainable sizes in LIVING animals (for which dozens, hundreds,
thousands etc...of complete, fully articulated specimens are known), but it
is the best I can pull out on the spot.  Note the uncertainties about the
maximum attainable size of the Saltwater croc, even though it is extant.
Consider now the difficulties in having a tiny sample of three or four
species of similar size, represented by (mostly) fragmentary remains.

> But as to other posts on this subject, what is silly to one person
> of interest to another, and someday it might turn out to be significant in
> some way. I remember Einstein had good things to say about imagination,
> Darwin said something about speculation being needed for good science and
> observation.

"Good science and observation" being the critical follow ups, providing
they can be done with the availible material. Imagination is great, but
science is a methodology for trying to get at factual truth which assumes
that self-delusion is an inherent human quality, which is why we put such
emphasis on things like several lines of evidence, peer review, etc.

>My intuition tells me that they must be at least partially
> right.  When it comes to science, I suspect that too much speculation is
> probably better than too little, at least in the long run.

    As long as it is properly labeled as such.

Education must have an end in view, for it is not an end in itself.
-Sybil Marshall

There are two kinds of light-the glow that illuminates, and the glare that
-James Thurber
Jeffrey W. Martz
Graduate student, Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University
3002 4th St., Apt. C26
Lubbock, TX 79415

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