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Re: Triassic protofeathers and fake-heads
I just don't see how quoting Gould's ideas is very relevant in this
discussion. We are talking about dinosaurs, which quickly became the
dominant "top end" during the Mesozoic. In this context, increased brain
size (allowing for increasing intelligence capability) is relevant. The
same is true for mammals, which came to dominate much of the "top end"
during the Cenozoic.
And now that I think about the predator on predator discussion, the
dinosaur ecology of the Triassic was certainly much different from that of
the Cretaceous. So predator on predator interactions were probably at a
much higher level early on. And at what point in the Triassic that
dinosaurs started eating other dinosaurs is unknown. In the beginning, the
small predatory dinosaurs would have been going after easier meals
(invertebrates and perhaps amphibians and a few eggs or fish). And the
predators of the first dinosaurs weren't dinosaurs anyway.
In any case, my "protofeathered tail" hypothesis is just that---an
hypothesis, and further evidence will either support it or refute it. It is
just an attempt to explain how protofeathers might have developed to the
stage where it was exapted for brooding.
------ Cheers, Ken
P.S. As for Anomalocaris, it might have been the most fearsome predator of
the Cambrian, but it was probably the vertebrates (fishes) that soon
outcompeted Anomalocaris and caused the gradual decline of trilobites (even
the spiny ones) during the Paleozoic. And I would think fish intelligence
had a lot to do with it (they are pretty brainy compared to the vast
majority of invertebrates).
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