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Re: Sauropod inferences



Here's the point: as nice as it is infering dinosaur behaviour from the likes of horses, rhinos, sheep, etc., dinosaur science is already up to its ears in meaningless, unscientific conjectures and assumptions. It's easy to forget that, when dealing with the likes of dinosaurs, all we really have at our disposal are fossils. And as useful as they can be, there's also only so much they can tell us (hmmm... this reminds me of another thread I've been following). Can your ungulate parallels *really* serve as a guide for extracting sauropod behaviours? Can you apply the papers you've exhaustingly read over and over again to a pile of bones? Because, in the end, that's what it really boils down to.
Admitedly, I haven't yet read the papers you refer to (it's the weekend, and I don't have access to my university's library right now), but I'd be more than willing to check them out if you can point out how they might be applied to sauropod bones. But if all this hoopla and banter serves only to add to the aforementioned unscientific conjections and assumptions, then it's just a waste of time here on this dinosaur science mailing list. Great for story books; bad for science.


Jordan Mallon

Undergraduate Student, Carleton University
Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoecology

Website: http://www.geocities.com/paleoportfolio/
AIM: jslice mallon

From: StephanPickering@cs.com
To: j_mallon@hotmail.com
CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Sauropod inferences
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2002 09:15:49 EST

Try reading, try sitting down with an university library computer and
entering the search terms. Bifurcation theory is a powerful, still >untapped tool for use in sorting out the dynamics of population >extinctions among dinosaurs. A useful introduction would be the works >of V.I. Arnold. If this is daunting, try: Luo Dingjun, Wang Xian, Zhu >Deming, Han Maon, 1997. Bifurcation theory and methods of dynamical >systems. Or any of the fascinating extrapolations of A.S. Kondrashov, >A.I. Khibnik and Yulij Ilyashenko. Game theory. Well, John Maynard >Smith published the first study in 1982 -- dated, but useful. Lee Alan >Dugatkin & H.K. Reeve, in 1998 released a brilliant compendium, Game >theory & animal behavior, which provides one with a wealth of data for >applicability to pre-K/T dinosaurs. I think it disappointing that >Stephen Gould never fully explored evolutionary game theory, and its >absence from discussions of dinosaur behaviour hampers extrapolations. >I'm afraid that, while interesting reflexions of primate behaviour on >the edge of chaos and constipation, children dressed up in costumes >borrowed from the post-Black Death superstitions of eastern Europe
do not provide one with critical thinking re: dinosaurs.

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