[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Dromaeosaur disease resistance




      To be considered: the idea that the K/T event may have been a series of processes: bollide impact, changing sea-levels > ocean temperature changes > disruption in food chains > extinctions of some life forms, and so on.
      I have long been curious as to the relationship between dromaeosaurs (in the broadest sense of the vernacular term; this is not the space to argue about cladistic relationalities between Dromaeosaurus and Velociraptor) and disease in their environments. Polygyny among dromaeosaurs would be unlikely: a male would have too high an energy expenditure to work with two females, and, if two females shared the same nest, incubation success would be lowered. Concomittantly, lesbian bonding among female dromaeosaurs would warn other intruders the menage a trois is a functioning unit. Among the megaherbivores, however, herds themselves would be predator barriers (dilution/detection effects coupled with group defense), and, logically, males and females would be of roughly the same size, as large individuals might precipate predator attacks (the "oddity effect", as zoologist Kathreen Ruckstuhl has told me). Similarly sized ad! ults would sustain herd stability...and anatomical strengths.
      Disease organisms relying on healthy hosts (micro-organisms in a dinosaur's gut assisting in digestion, e.g.) are different from pathogens dangerous to a host by becoming more toxigenic (and being able to mutate in just a few weeks, e.g., and share genetic data quickly). A dromaeosaur eating rotting flesh, or living animals infected  with virulent diseases, necessarily would have to possess highly efficient immune systems (the carcass could be in water, and waterborne diseases likewise could pose a hazard to our predator).
      Thus, in the macroevolution of dinosaurs, the radiation of clades within biozones, disease resistance would an integral part of their genomes.