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Re: Phorusrhacids killing large mammals in National Geographic Channel
Delurking from the shadows....
Birds have an interesting immune system, first systematically studied
by a guy by the name of Stroud while in Federal prison. (I've got a
copy.) They suffer greatly from ailments as other creatures do. A
rating system comparing mammals to birds would be difficult however
because they are completely different in their responses to certain
"germs" (for lack of a shorter more accurate phrase). Birds mask
their symptoms well so as to not look sick in the eyes of their own
species so as to avoid being pushed out of the "safety in numbers"
aspect of their existence. Resistance to any particular bacteria will
almost always be species specific and certainly genus specific. There
are certain "germs" pretty much attack anything. More typically, there
are cross order or family problems as the current buzz about swine
influenza indicates. However, I doubt the average fish has much to
worry about from it. Anyone ever see a turkey vulture with a stomach
ache? Nice eating habits there. Hyenas also get into some nasty
things and don't have issues on a large scale from their nocturnal
Birds do however have a very big problem with blood loss. If they
start to bleed, they die quickly primarily because they don't have
that much to loose and go into shock easily.
Cats do play with their prey in a nasty way. Catch them, chew a
little, let them go, pounce again ad nausium... Cats spread many
diseases that are cross species agents with humans. Cat Scratch Fever
for those of you that appreciate that golden oldie.
Applying this to dinosaurs would be impossible except to say that your
basic dinosaur probably didn't have the cleanest dental hygene and
therefore a bite from almost anything can and could turn into a nasty
infection. Don't let a Varanus kimodoesnsis get his teeth on you or
you'll be taking antibiotics for a while assuming you get away.
Nasty! There has been a lot of chatter about species of dinosaurs
have used the flora living in their mouths by just getting a bite in,
stepping back and being patient letting the infection kill their
intended prey. They avoid a greater risk of injury in a fight that
way. Something about survival advantage......
Bliss Dinosaur ranch report:
A couple of nice denticulate Cretaceous mammal jaws and misc teeth
from various cretaceous mammals have come out this year. Lots of
regular Hell Creek stuff as well as lots of misc teeth from virtually
everybody that had teeth to give at the time. I located what looks
like another animal slowly working his way to the surface. I'll pass
judgement on him later after unrelated mid-August activities have
passed. Had some early guests, they had a great time and found lots
of interesting things. There are a lot of critters other than
dinosaurs in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Fm. I haven't even had
time to open up the triceratops site this year so it remains under
several layers of tarp and earth. It's been there 65 million years,
what's a few more weeks. The small stuff is much more fun that those
durn big bones and much easier to store. I've got 6 foot long ribs
literally hanging from my ceiling. Can't wait till I get 20 or
Frank (Rooster) Bliss
On Jul 25, 2009, at 11:28 PM, Erik Boehm wrote:
Is it likely a Phorusrhacid would be similarly doomed
by a defensive bite from a mammal?
isn't a small mammal (ie a mouse) just as
vulnerable to being in a predator's mouth as a small
bird? a Phorusrhacid would likely have tougher skin
than a parakeet does.
I don't know how a small mouse would fare after having been in a
cats mouth. Obviously, the wounds from the teeth are the more
In the event a mouse is rescued *mid attack* from a cats mouth, such
that there are no deep cuts - no blood loss, no organs or bones
damaged... I have no idea how it would cope.
I was just wondering if anyone knew the "relative strength" of bird
vs mammal immune systems.
I was just surprised how quickly this (obviously escaped pet) bird
succumbed to infection after very minor wounds. Other than that, I
have no idea about the strength of bird immune systems, so I was
just wondering if they are in general "weak", and wondering what
effect this would have on their predation methods.