[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: cause of Gigantism in sauropods

 Besides, the rarity of predation on giant herbivores seems to be
 relatively morphology independent - there might be the occasional
 big-game specialist in the Mesozoic, but I don't see any reason to
 think that the rarity of predator attacks on much larger prey across
 multiple clades and environments today should not also apply to
 Mesozoic systems for the most part.

 In fact, I'll pose the reverse question: why should we suppose that
 giant herbivores in the Mesozoic were predated any more readily than
 giant herbivores today? (noting, of course, that "giant" is
 relative, and so we really mean the size ratio of predator:prey).
 The Mesozoic ecologies didn't have to work like modern ones, but
 given how widespread the size advantage trend is, I think we need
 more than what we have at present to overturn the null hypothesis
 that the Mesozoic size ratios had the same effect as present ones.

While there is much to say about lions -- I'm very surprised Tetrapod Zoology hasn't been cited yet; how often elephants or cape buffalo are attacked, and how much the males participate in the hunt, varies between cultures: http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/02/lions_as_macropredators.php , http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2008/06/killing_giraffes_on_roads.php --, I don't think they're particularly relevant for a comparison with animals like *Allosaurus*. Try saber-toothed cats instead, in particular the cookie cutter cat *Xenosmilus* (...and apparently the non-cat *Barbourofelis*). I'm trying to say the strategy of killing by inflicting random bleeding large wounds looks scaleable to me.

The skull of *Allosaurus* in particular has been compared to a hacksaw. Lions pierce, crush and rip instead.