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RE: Ceratonykus braincase described

  Well, the funny thing is that there are preadtor-prone "myrmecophages" that 
don't escape by climbing or burrowing, or have any sort of defensive _physical_ 
capabilities (when confronted). That was my point. Generalist insectivores that 
have similar adaptations to tamanduas exist that are nearly exclusively 
arboreal (as a preferred habitat rather than restrictive biome). That was also 
my point.

  Comparing terrestrial myrmecophages to non-terrestrial "myrmecophages" is not 
very useful as they typically invoke differential habits. And alvarezsaurs 
strike virtually anyone as terrestrial forms. If they were in the slightest 
myrmecophages, they would be treated with a suite of features not typically 
found in such taxa, even if their arms were primed for tearing into hard 
substrates. If we invoke that "compare anything fossil to only things extant" 
trope as a constraint, then we are stuck with an animal with (I think) no 
analogue. This is where the fun begins. It might be right to conceive of a 
chimera, but I think we're also overthinking the animal. No one says all the 
parts of the animal have to be associated with a precise behavior, and I think 
some people in this discussion have gotten caught up in trying to oversimplify 
alvarezsaurs (a very human tendency, I'll admit).


Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 

> Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:19:51 +0200
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Ceratonykus braincase described
> > On an ecological note, predator-prone myrmecophages exist that are
> > not defensive fighters.
> I know. As you cite me saying:
> > > Extant myrmecophages are not cursorial. They stand and fight
> > > and/or climb and/or burrow and/or rely on armor or spines.