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Re: theropod infanticide revisited

Stephan Pickering (stefanpickering2002@yahoo.com) wrote:

<The recent posting re: the USNM's observation that Coelophysis very
likely indulged, so to speak, in infanticide is rather out-dated, as Ned
Colbert decades ago believed it based on the evidence. A new paper on
theropod infanticide offers intriguing data for the growing body of
literature (an excellent compendium is D.W. Mock & G.A. Parker, 1997, The
evolution of sibling rivalry (Oxford University Press): Grzegorz
Klosowski, Tomasz Klosowski, Piotr Zielinski, 2002. A case of parental
infanticide in the black stork Ciconia nigra, Avian Science 2(1):59-62.>

  Should remark [again, apparently ignored by some] that some presented
though unpublished (except in abstract form) work by Rob Gay has
questioned this view, the only taxon to exhibit any evidence of having fed
on juveniles of its own species. The data being predicated on a
misobservation of juveniles beneath the ribcage rather than within in.
Hopefully this will be published soon and we may be able to evaluate the
data that any sort of non-avian theropod ate its own kind.

<As they and others have noted, behavioural infanticide among theropods
[should be birds, as the authors likely did not draw from the bulk of
Mesozoic theropodan taxa to reach their conclusions] can be accompanied
with cannibalism: usually the victimised nestlings are the smallest in the
brood, and the brood usually exceeds the number of chicks one would


Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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