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RE: Triassic protofeathers and fake-heads

As I keep reminding people, even the Encephalization Quotient (EQ) [see
http://www.cmnh.org/fun/dinosaur-archive/1996Mar/0412.html for some info on
it] for similar sized animals can be misleading.  At least one example
apparently contradicts the idea that intelligence increases in the more
derived predators -> _Homo neanderthalensis_ actually had an average
braincase size that was 7-10% larger than _Homo sapiens_ (average).  [Yes, I
am aware that the frontal lobes in _H. sapiens_ are larger than _H.
neanderthalensis_].  Most people believe that we are more intelligent than
Neanderthals, and also that we are the more derived species.  [This IS
debatable :-) ].

The reasons for increased intelligence are varied, ranging from pure hunting
skills, to climate awareness, to spacial processing, etc.  It is true,
however, that it doesn't take as much intelligence to sneak up on a flower,
as it does to sneak up on a herbivore.

My 2 cents.

Allan Edels

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
Michael de Sosa
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 1:59 AM
To: Dinosaur Mailing List
Subject: RE: Triassic protofeathers and fake-heads

ken wrote:
> And in the Cenozoic, armadillos armour didn't just suddenly
> appear.  It gradually improved as its predators got bigger and smarter.

Ouch, bad example. Ever seen a pink fairy armadillo? (No I am not kidding...
check out http://www.discovery.com/news/features/armadillo/gallery1.html.)
Its armor degenerated to where it just has a big plate on its back and can't
roll up or anything... but maybe it charms predators with its extreme
cuteness. Not saying you weren't right in most cases, just that you picked a
bad example. :)

I was jumping (like a Texas nine-banded armadillo facing an oncoming car) at
the chance to bring up armadillos but you did it for me.

>      Jaime said that my hypothesis was "ecologically" unsound because
> predator on predator on attacks are rare.  But I wasn't talking about
> predators on predators.  I was talking about early theropods
> attacking early
> ornithischians and sauropodomorphs.

No... dinosaur ancestors were carnivorous, eh? Lagosuchus? So if tail
"feathers" were homologous between ornithischians, sauropodomorphs, and
theropods, they would have had to have been present on the tails of small
carnivores FIRST. If you are saying the tail "feather" distraction only
developed (convergently) on the tails of the herbivores, then this has no
bearing on how feathers developed in theropods. Right?

>      David's objections didn't make sense to me either.  It's the
> predators
> that are doing most of the brain development.

Parrots? And why did dolphins need to get so smart if all they eat are
stupid fish?

Generally I agree with some of what you say about the brain stuff. It does
seem like there's a pretty obvious increase in intelligence (whatever that
is) over time. At least the ends of the branches are usually more
intelligent than the roots... not sure if things ever get dumber. Although
Lucy could probably beat a few people I know in an IQ test, so who knows.

Mike D.

Man, I love armadillos. And hagfish. Love hagfish.