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Re: Microraptor ate birds

On Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 6:33 PM, Denver Fowler <df9465@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> _______________________________
> From: Robert Schenck <schenck.rob@gmail.com>
>>It's definitely intriguing, and IF microraptor et al were arboreal, it is 
>>what we'd
> expect.
>The hypothesis is not well-thought out, and not based on any modern 
>comparisons (hence, I predict it will be published in Nature, or ProcB).

Should we really expect there to be good comparisons though? I'll
agree that the lack of modern analogs isn't meaningless, but how much
weight should we give it? We don't have gigantic theropods and
sauropods running around today either, so things could've been pretty
different back then. Consider that modern birds and bats segregate
based on time of day, bats tend to be nocturnal, and birds tend to be
diurnal. Maybe in the mesozoic, pterosaurs dominated the skys and the
earliest birds and dino-birds were relegated to the trees.

Anyway I'll agree that the positive evidence for arboreality in
Mesozoic dinosaurs doesn't seem to be out there, but if they were
arboreal predators, then, yes, preying on other arboreal species could
make sense.

>>I mean, this is /behaviour/ damnit, always great when any of that can
> be elucidated, even if it doesn't have 100% support.
> It's not behaviour: it's diet. For all we know, the Microraptor might have 
> found a dead bird on the ground.

Absolutely, could've come from the ground. It's still behaviour of
course, my point is that its something other than osteology, which is
allways nice. 'Still an awesome finding too. People could probably
argue about whether or not the bones that were found were consistent
with a fresh-kill versus a carcass,  or even what the fact that this
event /was/ fossilized means about the commonness of it, but its all
pretty weak.

Either way its significant. I remember people used to get excited when
they'd find muscle tissue in coprolites, so here we have a
pre-coprolite, so that should be exciting too.

>  ----------------------------------
> Denver Fowler
> df9465@yahoo.co.uk
> http://www.denverfowler.com
> -----------------------------------

Robert J. Schenck
Kingsborough Community College
Physical Sciences Department
S332 ph# 718-368-5792
Follow Me on Twitter: @Schenck
KCC Class Schedule on Google Calendar: http://tinyurl.com/mqwlcy