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Dinosaurs and the virus [Was simply: Re:]
>During college, my interest in Level 4 viruses (the uncurables) brought me to
>wonder why these types of viruses do not infect reptiles, or if they do, why
>reptiles do not show symptoms of the diseases they cause.
Zoonotic virus studies were never a strong suit of mine. Care to give some
examples. It is quite possible that reptiles do get infected with these types
of virus, but I'm not sure of the exact types.
For instance I know that adenovirus is known to occur in a variety of reptiles,
and herpes is a common viral infection too (though a different strain than
those that infect humans). I believe herpes is a class 4.
What type of symptoms are you looking for. Lethargy and loss of appetite are
usually the most common symptoms in reptiles. This is also true for most
animals. Other symptoms are probably stifled by the animals. No sense
advertising one's ailments.
This fostered my interest in herpetology, which recently led to an interest in
dinosaurs. Given the current "warm-blooded/cold-blooded" dinosaur debate, I
wondered if it might be possible to consider the idea that IF dinosaurs were
warm-blooded, the following MIGHT be true:
>1. Dinosaurs were susceptible to viruses, like most warm-blooded animals.
No doubt it would be true, but it would hardly be a sign of "warm-bloodedness,"
for the reasons stated above.
>2. A level-4-type "dinosaurian" virus may have evolved and infected the
>dinosaurs, explaining the already-in-process decline of the dinosaurs before
>the asteroid crash, and explaining the rapidity of their final demise.
Interesting thought, and one that sounds awfully familiar. Bakker proposed
essentially the same idea back in the 70s. Apparently continental colides
allowed for dinosaurian crossover which lead to illness by diseases that could
now travel to new territory.
The biggest problem I see with this idea is that there is no virus around today
that has proven itself capable of wiping out an entire species, much less an
entire class (near class, whatever) of animals. I freely admit to the adaptive
and infective power of the virus, but I have yet to see one that is *that*
>3. The cold-bloods survived this outbreak because reptiles do not get
Depends on the virus. Reptiles don't get rabies, but then neither do birds.
This also doesn't explain the other ~75% of life that got wiped out, including
a large chunk of non-dinosaurian reptiles. Not to mention why mammals & birds
>I know I'm probably sounding like science fiction right now, but there is one
>more point I'd like to discuss and get your opinions about as well. I've
>always thought of frogs and toads as the "canary in the coal mine" so to
>speak. They are very sensitive to changes in their environment, and usually
>are the first thing to die off in any kind of climactic change. If the
>asteroid and the following nuclear winter killed off the adaptable dinosaurs,
>why did the sensitive amphibians survive?
Because they could adapt better >:)
The key area in this extinction event always seems to be the semi-aquatic
environments (swamps and such), which didn't seem to suffer any devastating
losses. If you were completely terrestrial or completely aquatic, you got hit
hard, but if you were "sitting on the fence" you seemed to scrape by A-OK. As
many amphibians were known to and are still known to live in these
environments, then whatever special thing about swamps and the like, allowed
them to scrape by as well (I believe it has something to do with the versatile
nature of energy exchange in these environs).
>Thank you so much for considering my thoughts, and I would love to hear
>feedback from any or all of you!
Welcome to the Dinosaur Mailing List. :)