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Re: Sauroparental care

On Tuesday, December 23, 2003, at 12:54 AM, Ken Carpenter wrote:

The comment about the claw shows the type of thinking that I am trying to change on DML.

Such unbridled hubris!

It is important to look at the whole picture and not just a single feature (in this case). A dinosaur is more than a single bone (or set of closely related bones). (BUT don't feel too bad, my professional colleagues fall into this same trap with cladistic anaylses of a taxon based on a single bone, make behavioral inferences from a single structure, etc.)

I don't feel bad at all - sauropods were huge animals with presumably enough power to easily dig a hole if so desired. The bulldozers of the Jurassic, if you will (but you probably won't).

In the case of digging, we can look at all the known digging vertebrates today and see certain characteristics that they all share. The results are more meaningful if the animals are not closely related because similar adaptations had to have arisen independently (i.e., the characters were not inherited, but developed because of similar life-style, etc.). In the case of diggers (e.g. armadillo and mole, which are unrelated), we can see that the claws (not just one) are enlarged and occupy the entire width of the hand in order to maximize the amount of dirt the hands/paws can move.

Why is it always necessary to seek modern-day analogs to dinosaurs? What do armadillos and moles - or wombats and aardvarks for that matter - have the slightest in common with sauropds? Why must dinosaurs conform to what you know about extant mammals, or even reptiles? Yes, we can "look at" modern vertebrate morphology and behaviour, but they're not the yardstick you're making them out to be. Are you sure *you're* looking at the whole animal here?

Peter M