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RE: Articles on Dilong and "a hobbit" in the 21. Century magazine



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of 
> Vladimír Socha
>
> Good day,
> my new issue of the 21. Century magazine (Czech: 21. stoleti) has a nice 
> articles on both important fossil discoveries of
> the last year. I'd like to ask a few questions on both topics. As for Homo 
> floresiensis:
> 1.) what is the general meaning of it, could it be a dwarf (insular) form of 
> late H. erectus?

That is the primary hypothesis: an island dwarf which speciated from H. erectus.

> 2.) With the braincase volume of only 380 ccm, this dwarf man was less 
> inteligent than H. erectus or even
> Austrolopithecs.

No, to be accurate, it had a smaller brain than the others. Whether it was less 
intelligent is a different (albeit related) issue.

> Of course the size of a brain is not equal to its abilities, but still...how 
> could it created float to
> get to the island, when even H. erectus with the braincase volume around 
> 700-1250 ccm was unable of such thing (AFAWK).

Well, lots of animals float by accident to islands.

> Also, how could they know and use fire with "Australopitecus' brain"? Did 
> they learn how to handle it from H. sapiens perhaps?

Perhaps, or retained those behaviors from their ancestors.

> 3.) There's a mention of two species of giant monitors living in the same 
> area as hobbits. Our old well known comodo
> dragons but also some type of larger reptile. Does anyone know more about 
> this second monitor of flores?

Yes, but not me. :-)

> And was it
> possibly preying on hobbits?

Who knows? Please remember that published studies of this specimen are very, 
very, Very, VERY limited right now. Please let the
paleoanthros do their work! :-)

> 4.) Hobbits were living in a long span of about 20 thousand years there.

At least.

> But when did they dissapear? 12 or 11 thousand
> years ago? Or possibly much later?

Yes, possibly much later. See answer above about preliminary state of the 
data...

>  And again cryptozoology: may the existence of "Orang pendek", "Nguoi rung", 
> "Batutut"
> and other dwarf forest men be true? Or in other words: how big is a chance, 
> that H. floresiensis survived in a remote,
> hardly penetratable forest areas to this day?

0.036%.  Plus or minus 100%.  :-)  Seriously, how the heck are people supposed 
to know that?!?! Let's put it this way: a far better
chance than survival of, oh, say plesiosaurs in Loch Ness or sauropods in the 
Congo.

>
> As for Dilong paradoxus:
> 1.) Is dilong thefinal proof for asiatic origin of tyrannosaurids?

No: see other posting.

> 2.) Is feathery integument a synapomorphy for a whole tyrannosauroid clade?

No, it is a SYMPLESIOMORPHY for the whole tyrannosauroid clade.

> 3.) Did featery integument probably appear only in juvenile stages while in 
> adults it was secondarily lost?

Who knows? Since Beipiaosaurus (at least) retained feathers into a larger body 
size than Dilong, than it is reasonable to guess that
Dilong did as well.

> 4.) What where the climatic conditions (weather, humidity) in Liaoning about 
> 130 Ma ago?

Paleoclimatology for the environment is still being worked out, but based on 
the flora it was wet and relatively warm.

> 5.) Is this genus earlier than Eotyrannus from the Island of Wight? And is it 
> more basal?

About the same age, and that would be telling... (Let me just say that initial 
results put them around the same part of the tree).

> 6.) Is there anything new on the "C-rex" specimen, said to be 10% larger than 
> Sue (rex, not scientist)?

Nope. Not yet.

> 7.) Is validity of _Tarbosaurus efremovi_, _Gorgosaurus lancinator_, 
> _Gorgosaurus novojilovi_, _Jengkhizkhan bataar_ and
> _Maleevosaurus novojilovi_ once assigned to a single species _Tarbosaurus 
> bataar_ now generally agreed?

Nope. It is generally agreed that they are all Tarbosaurus bataar.

> And how are they distinguished?

They aren't (see above).

> 8.) In which parts of a tyrannosaurian body was the feather concentrated most?

We don't know: the good impressions are from isolated elements, while the 
better preserved skeleton doesn't have as good
impressions.

>Which parts were probably holow?

Of the feathers? The shaft.

> 9.) Does this find change somehow our understanding of a thermoregulatory 
> mechanics in large tyrannosaurids (gigantothermy)?

Only if you bought gigantothermy as the primary mechanism of larger 
tyrannosauroids in the first place. It should be noted, though,
that we don't have any good impressions of the general integument of big 
tyrants yet, so we don't know how much of them was
feathered.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796