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Re: Dilophosaurus Forelimb Bone Maladies

> On Mar 3, 2016, at 2:39 PM, Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 4th, 2016 at 5:56 AM, Mike Habib <biologyinmotion@gmail.com> 
> wrote:
>> A two ton predator would have to be suicidal to take on a 20 ton animal.
> That depends on what you mean by 'take on'. A direct assault on a healthy 
> animal is unlikely to 
> succeed, but a loud and ferocious bluff might be enough to panic a sauropod 
> into stumbling and 
> injuring itself, turning it's own mass against it. 

Point taken. Still, it seems to me that scenario building like this is a bit 
like special pleading. We know that predators tend not to eat things much 
larger than themselves, we know that theropods had plenty of small prey to 
pursue, and we don’t have any compelling reason to postulate that they hunted 
large prey. The simple model, which fits what we know of anatomy and behavioral 
ecology, is that most theropods were small prey hunters. We can come up with 
exotic cases where an allosaur somehow gets lucky enough to kill a 10+ ton 
sauropod, but is there any real reason to try to produce this scenario in the 
first place?


—Mike H.

Michael Habib, MS, PhD
Assistant Professor, Cell and Neurobiology
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California
Bishop Research Building; Room 403
1333 San Pablo Street, Los Angeles 90089-9112

Research Associate, Dinosaur Institute
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007

(443) 280-0181