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Re: Ouranosaurus (but we saw a spinosaur?)

Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:

> Someone once mentioned on the list that spinosaurs may have evolved to
> mimic ouranosaurs, in order to facilitate sneaking up on them. I've just
> wondered whether the opposite could be true: that ouranosaurs evolved to
> mimic spinosaurs in order to discourage predators.

    I was one of those who have presented this idea on the list. It seems to
recurr periodically, and was, at one point, put in print for Dimetrodon and
Edaphosaurus (I have not yet tracked down the ref). At least in my
formulation of the African dinosaur example, either could be a mimic of the
other. In the Permian example, the argument could be made that, since the
Edaphosaurus "sail" is more elaborate (with "cross-bars," etc.) and the
Dimetrodon version is pretty simple, the latter is more likely to be a copy
of the former. Still leaves one to wonder what edaph was using that thing
    While I can't think of a way to test the mimicry hypothesis, it would be
interesting to see if the finback is subject to strong sexual dimorphism in
either species (as Dann mentioned, e.g., if Suchomimus were a female
Spinosaurus). In such a case, it would be simpler to assume Ouranosaurus was
mimicing the theropod, since a camoflage adaptation would more likely be
beneficial to both sexes. Naturally, however, this would be a pretty weak
inference (maybe only the males hunted...).
    Anyway, back to that thing where we test ideas, etc... oh, yeah,
"science," that's what they call it. :)

> On a related note, how would "Ouranosaurus" be pronounced? The original
    I usually pronounce it "wah-rrahn-o-sor-us" (rolled r), which, to my
feeble mind, sounds more Arabic. Ben Creisler's (excellent) pronunciation
guide at dinosauria.com says "oo-RAHN-o-SAWR-us." Ben usually knows what he
is talking about, and if he says that sound like the Tuareg way to say it,
he's probably right.

    As an aside, remember that, althoguh Latin does not have a "w," v was
pronounced as a "w," leaving the "correct" (see BC's discussion at
dinosauria.com) pronunciation of Varanus "wah-rah-nuhs." Cool, no?