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Re: Built Like a Race Horse, Slow as an Elephant?
Cheetahs probably evolved as pronghorn antelope predators in Pliestocene NorAm,
and it looks very much like there was a cheetah/pronghorn arms race for speed.
Actually, it was almost certainly a pronghorn/pronghorn arms race. There
would always have been far more pronghorns than cheetahs, so cheetah
predation on a population of slow coaches would still not have been enough
to threaten their long-term survival.
I doubt pronghorns would have evolved to run as fast as a cheetah (or as
close as their biology would have allowed) just to avoid the occasional bit
of cheetah predation. I think it's more likely that pronghorns evolved to
run fast to compete with each other.
It's like the old saying goes: if you and a friend are chased by a tiger,
you don't have to outrun the tiger. You just have to outrun your friend...
GIS / Archaeologist http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia http://heretichides.soffiles.com