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Re: Occam's bulldozer & natural selection & ceratopsians




On Sun, 8 Dec 2002, Morgan Churchill wrote:

> 
> Direct comparisons between modern animals and dinosaurs have only a
> limited value, as people keep saying nauseum.  Hell, canines, hyenas,
> and
> felines all fill similar niches and are somewhat related, but they all
> have very different behavior systems.  So how are you going to infer
> large Theropod behavior of a group vastly unrelated to them.  It's
> interesting to speculate, but all it is speculation.

Well, I think that a lot of behavioral ecology is about trying to find
behavioral rules: "given this then that will occur".  Just as trying to
plot the weather was much more fallible in the past than it is today
(those of us in DC just got a predicted dumping of snow), attempts to
predict a particular behavior are more successful with more knowledge
(gosh, just like any other scientific enterprise!).  For example, all
(approximately 11) species of weaver birds that are forest dwellers and
insectivores are monogamous; and all 11 or so species of weaver birds that
are plain dwelling granivores are polygynous.  There are rules.  They are
obscure, and they may never be discovered...but it is presumptuous to say
it will always be speculation.

k