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Re: Huge Freakin' Snake!
Quoting Augusto Haro <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> Dann Pigdon said:
> > As David Marjanovic pointed out; modern snakes don't have large theropods
> or marine reptiles to
> > contend with. The difference between an anaconda and a jaguar is only minor
> by comparison.
> Difference in what sense? size, I suppose? Are you supposing that a
> snake the size of a theropod would be outcompeted while considering a
> snake the size of a jaguar lives along with the jaguar without being
> outcompeted? In such a case, why would they be outcompeted by a
> similarly sized theropod and not by a similar sized Carnivora?
> Or are you talking about some kind of unlikeliness of the development
> of the snake to reach the size of a big theropod when compared to
> reaching the size of the jaguar?
The latter. There are physiological constraints that set the upper limit of
snake size. Titanoboa may
well represent that limit. It's estimated weight is just over a tonne, which is
considerably less than
the largest theropods.
At the scale of an anaconda, a snake is probably about as fast as a jaguar (at
least in initial
bursts). Certainly an anaconda is physically stronger. I suspect a snake the
size of Titanoboa was
a slow-coach ambush predator - even more so on land than in the water (if it
spent much time on
land at all). The relative difference, both in size and escape speed, is far
smaller between an
anaconda and a jaguar than it would have been between a Tinanoboa-sized snake
and a large
> > Competition is certainly about more than shared prey items.
> > One species can out-compete another
> > simply by keeping it out of prime habitat.
> That seems to be difficult to prove. As far as I know, jaguars dwell
> in the same microhabitats anacondas can do (trees, river, soil of the
> forest) yet they do not keep them out of prime habitat.
Anancondas tend to hunt mainly in and around water. Jaguars tend to prefer
terra firma. A jaguar
near the water's edge is usually a nervous jaguar, while a fully-grown anaconda
on dry land (in
janguar territory) is probably equally nervous. The two species are fairly
evenly matched - jaguars
might be a bit quicker, more agile, and have better endurance, however
anacondas are more
powerful (and no slow-coaches themselves in short bursts).
> And how do you keep another thing out of their prime habitat?
Killing it on sight is a good strategy. Where you find a lot of lions, you tend
not to find a lot of
cheetahs. There is little overlap between their prefered prey, however that
doesn't stop lions from
attempting to kill cheetahs on sight. If it wasn't for lions, cheetahs would
almost certainly be more
numerous than they are.
> We discussed the first case, the second seems weird for carnivorous
> vertebrates, and I have no reason why to think theropods would be any
> more violently damaging to a snake their same size than the snake
> against the theropod.
Even if a snake had the same mass as a large theropod, it's greatly reduced
speed and agility
would have made it susceptable to a quick bite behind the head (ending the
Walking around on stilts with your vital parts beyond easy striking range of a
big slow snake might
have emboldened a theropod in such an encounter (like a giant secretary bird).
> If you are thinking of theropods larger than
> snakes, then large felids commonly kill small felids in nature when
> they can, yet felids of different sizes still live one at the side of
> the other.
Small felids are quicker and more agile that their larger cousins, they can
easily hide if need be,
and they have very keen senses giving them advanced warning of danger. A
would have been anything but quick, would have had trouble hiding, and it's
probably didn't have the range of a sharp-eyed, sharp-eared felid. Large
ectotherm verses larger
endotherm tends to be a more mismatched contest than that between medium-sized
and small endotherm.
GIS / Archaeologist http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia http://heretichides.soffiles.com