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Re: In (premature) defense of the USNM



<Surely if you take it to the extreme, dinosaur movies would be full of
animated skeletons (a la Clash of the Titans [beware the wroth of
Harryhausen fans])? If you're going to add speculative muscles, skin
patterns, eye colours, etc, why not go the whole hog and stick some sort of
integument on dinosaurs for which there is some sort of phylogenetic
bracketing for it?>
Seems to me like you've included four different speculations:
1.  dinosaurs had skin and muscles,
2.  those muscles were of a particular size and in a particular location
(okay, I'm inferring this one),
3.  dinosaurs had certain skin patterns and eye colors, and
4.  certain dinosaurs had some sort of integument.
Suppose that someone decides to speculate on the first 2 or 3, but not the
fourth.  (I'd argue that the degree of certainty for #1 removes it from
speculation, but I'll stick with your argument.)  Would that person be
wrong, or eccentric, or just making a different choice from your own?

You also noted:
<Also, play behaviour is extremely important amongst social animals.
Personally, I still think that BETTER (Bored Early Theropods Tried
Entertaining Routines) is best relegated to the humor barrel (and scraping
the bottom of it, at that).>
Here's one for you:  an animal descended from something very like a cow goes
to live in the ocean and sings.  Dialogue among the singing cows goes
something like:  'Rossini, always Rossini!'  'There's more than one opera
about the Barber of Seville; why not Mozart?!'  'Well, at least he's got
better pipes than his old man; that bull sounded like sailors scraping off
barnacles.'
Or maybe he's just singing about the weather, or food, or whalers, and
everybody's annoyed listening to him.
Well, anyway, you're right that thinking behavior to relieve boredom is
selectable and could produce anatomical change is pretty ridiculous.  Fun to
play with, though.