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RE: How Did Hadrosaurs Survive?



Original Message by
Jaime A. Headden
Monday, 4. November 2002 00:48 

> <And of course I forgot the third aspect, the Limited Catastrophe model
> aka Survival of the Imperfect:>
>
>   Sounds like adapted perfectly for the scenario, to my mind.

Perfectly in sum, not perfectly for the narrow short-term goal of getting the 
most termites with the least energy expense.

> Nature finds balance, simple and easy,
> when things develop as they do and are not
> manipulated.

Sure.

>   Actually, armored skin is the plesiomorphic condition.

Ah.

> tardigrades,

Have got a new name to end confusion with Tardigrada, part of 
Panarthropoda... but I forgot that name immediately. :.-(

> <The idea here is that if a mutation occurs that increases fitness beyond
> what is sustainable in the long term, it spreads throughout the deme, and
> the deme dies out before more can happen. [...] So any armored anteaters
> have starved long ago.>
>
>   Er, no. This is not a logical conclusion to the theory. Armor just
> insn't good for a group of animals that are not terrestrial, and nearly
> all vermilinguans have been at least somewhat arboreal.

Looks like a bad idea that I chose osteoderms as an example. Any adaptation 
that would make the skin insensitive to termite bites would fit.

> *Myrmecophaga* is
> nomadic, and loss-of-armor can be considered a weight-saving device,

If it were protected, it wouldn't have to wander around, the argument goes. 
(And it would have died out long ago.)

> Though it is true increase of
> performance would decrease the food stock, it is perhaps more of an
> "intelligent design" scenario to suspect that these animals are regulating
> populations, in case they die.

Looks like my English is too difficult to understand when I write at 11 p. 
m.. I tried to write that it's not intelligent design, it's not actual 
conscious resource management, but it has the same effect, it looks the same 
at first glance.

> An animal when hungry does not stop trying
> to feed because it might eat too many food items....

But it does so because it's simply getting too painful to keep eating after 
the termite soldiers have managed to get through the fur.

> The original idea,
> that this is how long it takes for the soldiers to come to the defense,

Why "original"?!? This is the idea.

> aardvarks, which have thicker skin

But not such thick fur, apparently.

> and do not readily scout for a few tasty morsels per mound.
>
> <And the simple observation that *Tyrannosaurus* survived for millions of
> years looks like good evidence that  it wasn't an Ultraraptor [...].>
>
>   Its regulating the stock cowboy style?

Nope. But if a deme of *Tyrannosaurus rex* by whatever unimaginable mutation 
became so successful that it greatly reduced the numbers of its prey it has 
died out before the killer genes could spread throughout the species. 
Otherwise we wouldn't find *T. rex* spread over 3 Ma. The obvious loophole is 
that such a thing happened right then when its effects coincided with those 
of the meteorite, but that would be untestable and pretty special pleading.