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Re: Dinosaurs vs. mammals: a hypothetical scenario

Are deciduous trees delicious to a sauropod, especially leafless? Probably some sort of migratory behavior would become necessary for any wormholes that led to a temperate zone. How long does it take for a nonmigrator to become a migrator?

Cunning egg-sucking vermin, some of them mammals. Makes me wonder how many nonavian dinos would produce a next generation.

Scott Perry
High Mountain Writers' House

----- Original Message ----- From: "Brian Lauret" <zthemanvirus@hotmail.com>
To: "the list" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 11:38 AM
Subject: Dinosaurs vs. mammals: a hypothetical scenario

For those among us who are not particularly interested in untestable what-if scenarios, this is probably a good topic to ignore. Its subject will be completely hypothetical. To those who are interested in this, however, I hope my question will be fun and interesting.

I wonder how non-avian dinosaurs would fare in Cenozoic, mammal-dominated ecosystems, especially in one at its (of course subjective) prime with reasonable stability and at its maximum number of niches. Because modern day ecosystems are generally depleted compared to their prehistoric counterparts, I'd like to take the late Miocene during which mammal diversity in terms of species richness may have peaked or was very high at the least, as our setting.

So I would want to take late Miocene ecosystems and let them be invaded by late Cretaceous, say Campanian, dinosaurs, via some sort of wormhole or the like that would allow Campanian dinosaurs from all over the world to invade late Miocene ecosystems all over the world. So Campanian Australian dinosaurs end up in late Miocene Australia, Campanian Asian dinosaurs end up in late Miocene Asia and so on.

What I wonder is, would those dinosaurs be competitive in their new setting? I personally suspect they might well be because of their fecundity, probably efficient metabolism, ability to quickly consume large amounts of low quality food and likely adaptability. This, I think, would be especially true of the larger dinosaurs. I'm pretty sure an adult titanosaur would be safe from even the largest, most powerful late Miocene predators such as percrocutids or barbourofelids. The same might apply to large ornithischians such as ankylosaurs and giant hadrosaurs. Their size, strength, thick hide and weaponry would probably make them (all but) immune to pesky mammalian Miocene carnivores.

I'd also think large theropods would become contenders for the title of worst invasive exotic ever. Given the size and strength of an adult tyrannosaur, it could probably easily hunt even the largest landliving mammals around.

Probably, smaller dinosaurs versus mammals would be where things get more interesting. For example, would a population of alvarezsaurs or a leptoceratopsids survive in an ecosystem with boreophagines and sabertooth cats? Would they prove competitive against pangolins or pigs? Would smaller ornithopods be able to compete against horses or ruminants? Would dromaeosaurs be able to compete with hyenas?

I'm very interested in your thoughts on what you think would happen in such a scenario.

Thanks in advance,