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Re: T rex bites your bum

On Sun, 22 May 2005 22:08:17 -0400 Jordan Mallon
<jordan.mallon@gmail.com> writes:
> > I read this "following strategy" all the time (Horner, Abler, 
> Bakker,
> > Curie have repeated this for years), but what is the original 
> source for
> > the info?

> I'm pretty sure Abler first put the idea forward.

Well, the only Abler paper I have is his 1992 paper in _Paleobiology_
18(2):161-183.  Nowhere in his paper does Abler state that the Komodo
Dragon follows or stalks its wounded and/or infected prey.  Abler does
make *one* comment about Komodos being "able to subue previously bitten
prey".  But as far as we know, the prey item may not have wandered from
the site of the intial attack (most of the monitor's larger prey on
Flores and Komodo Islands are domestic cattle and the occassional water
buffalo, both of which have extremely limited ranges).  Abler's only
primary sources on the Komodo Dragon were two reports:

Auffenberg, W. 1981.  The behavioral ecology of the Komodo Monitor. 
University of Florida  Press, Gainesville, Fla.

Blair, L.. and L. Blair.  1987/1988.  Dance of the Warriors [Film]. 
Blair Brothers Productions, WGBH Educational Foundation, and WGBH ,

In his pop-sci book _The Complete T. rex_, John Horner (1993) mentions
Abler's (1992) research, but Horner doesn't go as far as to claim that
Komodo Dragons actually followed or stalked dying prey.

I haven't seen Blair and Blair's film, nor have I read Auffenberg's
paper, so I remain open-minded to the possibility that Komodos do this. 
But it is possible that the claim is an urban myth.

Compared to mammals and birds, lizards utilize a much different energy
conservation plan, involving long periods of inactivity punctuated with
short bursts of activity.  Therefore, it would be *much* more energy
efficient for a lizard to eat whatever prey item keels over closest to
where the lizard is sleeping.  And if a different Komodo inflicted the
original infectious bite, it won't matter a bit to the other Komodo who
happened upon the corpse.