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Re: dino-lice

On Tue, Apr 19th, 2011 at 9:29 AM, Vivian Allen <mrvivianallen@googlemail.com> 

> I mean, opportunistic scavenging is a basic feature of carnivory - saying
> something scavenged carcasses is in general tantamout to just saying it ate
> meat. To be a convincing dedicated scavenger you either need a way of both
> finding and getting to corpses (which are probably a pretty thinly-spread
> resource) before every other meat-eater that happened to be near it gets
> involved. So you need to cover a wide area with a fast-acting sense, and be
> able to travel large distances quickly. birds seem the only convincing
> terestrial example at the moment. Or you eat the stuff no-one else is going
> to or is able to (bones, waxy residues etc), or you exist in such huge
> numbers that you're basically everywhere anyway (flies, ants etc). Does that
> sound about right? Being able to process a large corpse doesn't really make
> you anything more than a carnivore, as far as I can see - it's the ability
> to sense and travel over long distances quickly (relative to competitors).
> Might be wrong.

None of that would be a problem if groups of alvarezsaurs shadowed large 
theropods, like cattle 
egrets following cattle. 

A large theropod might not bother to try to catch and kill those annoying 
little alvarezsaurs. The 
effort to catch such a small, fast and agile 'pest' darting around your kill 
wouldn't be worthwhile, 
when you consider how little they would take from the carcass, and that the 
theropods in question 
have already expended quite a bit of energy taking down a larger animal (a 
larger source of food 
that now offers no further resistance). Lions tend not to take much notice of 
vultures or jackals 
darting in to snatch the occasional scrap - a token growl to attempt to chase 
them off is usually all 
they bother with.

If alzarevsaurs also performed some sort of grooming service for the large 
theropods (like 
parasite removal), then they may have been tolerated to an even greater degree. 
alvarezsaurs may have benefited from the security of being around large 
theropods even if they 
didn't offer them anything in return, relying on speed, agility, and relative 
inconspicuousness to 
avoid becoming a meal themselves.

I think my speculation gland is begining to overheat though...


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj