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Dino Science Forum: Scientific Discussion of Dinosaurs -Dec. 2000

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One more thing, Car you could also tell your friend that the dromies were not as effiecnt as we thought, based on damage potential. Which is the more efficent hunter anyway, one that gives its prey nasty cuts and slashes (dromies), or one that could do 20 times the damage in the same amount of time (Rexies). Given the fact that Tyrannosuraids could also run faster, there is nothing to suggest the dromies would have been effiecnt killers of big animals at all.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 31, 2000


I agree Ruben, size is a vague way of measuring intelligence, but its by no means definate. That's because some animals do have a larger brain than us, but we remain the most intelligent. But what one must know that a T.Rex brain is actually bigger and far more complex than all the brains of the species of raptors. So if you want to go by that argument, and having estabilshed that EQ dosen't work, we'll probally come to the conclusion that T.Rex was smarter than the raptors.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 31, 2000


Well Car, you could start by telling him that raptors MOST probally did not hunt in organized packs, nor did they attack big prey.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 31, 2000


Well Car, the current theory of the dromies being super-efficent hunters requires a streach of imagination as the theory of them moving in packs and cutting their prey to ribbons requires alot of imagination for it to work. Let's attack the current Dromie theories with evidence or arguments to the contray:

These are my arguments:

Dromaeosaurs, popularly known today as the Raptors. In movies, books and magazines these smallish theropods comprised the fastest and nastiest, and possibly smartest Dinosaurs ever. They were dressed to the nines in spikes and knives; cold-blooded homeothermic killers. While all members of this class had an impressive set of saw-edged teeth and formidably clawed forelimbs, it is the hypertrophied claws on the second toes of their hindlimbs that have transfixed our imagination. We are repeatedly told that these agile carnivores hunted in packs, slashing their large but lumbering prey to death in a series of back-foot blitzkriegs. Wait...does this really make sense? Did they really hunt in organized packs? Did they really use those curvaceous claws for slicing and dicing formidable foes into hors-d'ouvres sized snacks? I suspect it was more likely they rarely ate anything that couldn't have been nailed in a one-bite solo effort unless it was already dead. Heresy!!? Stop and consider this from an evolutionary standpoint. As Raptors were lightly built, they probably did rely on speed and agility. As they were bipedal, their back legs would have been essential to their survival. Almost any injury to such important structures would have been rapidly fatal to a creature relying on pursuit speed and kicking power. Want to hurt a back leg? Try to kick a large and angry herbivore that basically consists of thick skin over huge muscles. Ribs, pelvic bones, scutes, shields and flailing limbs would have made vital organs difficult targets. Aside from the likely humiliation of breaking a nail, they would have been at high risk for shattering a leg trying such tactics. Crippled dinosaurs didn't have a high likelihood of reproducing, leaving them losers in Darwin's evolutionary derby. Perhaps that is why they vanished by the mid-Cretaceous, giving way to the smash-mouth hunting tactics of the Tyrannosaurs. It is more likely that Raptors mostly used their razor-like teeth on smaller prey. If they did use claws, it was probably the impressive armament on their forelimbs which would have been much easier to control and less risky to survival if injured. So, what were those carpet cutters for? If there had to be a feeding function, consider other possibilities. They would have been useful for cutting through thick skin after their meal had been immobilized by other means. They could have been used to rip aprt termite nests and beehives, or to dig up whatever resembled prairie dog towns of their era. If they had a taste for escargot, the claws were perfectly shaped for extracting the delicate morsels from their spiral shells.

I'm certain that every reader who has put up with me this far is thinking about the famous Velociraptor versus Protoceratops fossil where both died locked in mortal combat, proving the function of the slashing claw. Yes, the poor Raptor was using its foot, but probably as a defensive weapon! After all, it was probably trying to raid a nest for a meal of one-bite babies when it was attacked by one of those angry herbivores alluded to above. The large slashing claw on the cassowary is a good example of such a weapon evolving purely for defensive purposes. These birds are incredibly dangerous when trapped in close quarters although they are more likely to run away than take chances with their valuable legs in a battle. It makes sense to risk an incapacitating injury only if the alternative is being eaten.

If you are uncomfortable with these magnificent structures solely serving a protective function, what could be a more likely use? Why, sex of course. Many of the most extravagant and bizarre structures in nature are primarily used to attract a mate or to intimidate rivals. A set of large claws could be very useful for displaying to a potential mate or for ritualized combat. Look at the modern rooster, possessing impressive and dangerous spurs, but hardly famed as a fierce hunter.

While difficult to prove either way, it is easier to imagine Raptors having the coordination required for mating displays than the control needed for accurately kicking an opponent in a life or death battle. Despite their reputation for having relatively large brains, it is unlikely that such complex coordination would have been possible. No other animal has developed that style of hunting since, even if birds grab smaller prey with their feet and many animals do use their feet for defensive functions.
While on the subject of brain function, I have to add that the concept of Raptors hunting in organized packs inspires incredulity. No reptile, or bird for that matter possesses the social structure to accomplish that and it is doubtful that Dinosaurs with relatively small brain-to-body mass ratios could have pulled it off. Swarming on common prey is observed with many animals including crocodilians, large lizards and vultures, although it isn't truly cooperative social behavior. Finding fossils showing a group of Deinonychus with one large herbivore certainly doesn't prove or even imply social structure any more than finding a collection of flies around a dead rat.

One of the great joys of science is interpreting the evidence available. The Raptors are a fascinating group that truly deserves tremendous attention. All too often it seems that one view of fragmentary data becomes accepted as gospel and is repeated over and over as fact. The most obvious or exciting interpretation is not always the correct one. And I believe thsi is the case for the raptors.

These are FD's arguments:

Fast, based on what? Dromaeosaurs have just about the shortest and broadest tibiae and metatarsals of the nonavian theropods. Tyrannosaurids have the longest and most slender tibiae and metatarsals for any theropod in their size range. On top of that, tyrannosaurids have some nice shock-abosrbing potential in their feet. All other things being equal, a tyrannosaurid should be expected to cover more ground per unit time (aka, speed) than a dromaeosaurid of the same size.
this would make tyrannosaurids among the fastestest of its time for its size,and definitely faster than its prey.
This supports my original claims , that there is nothing to prove that Dromaeosaurs were seemingly better (or more efficient) hunters.

Every time I see something that says that dromeosaurs "best" suited for hunting I can't help but question what this is based on. Is it mostly assumption. Is it that they are seemingly "better suited for speed",Or the arsenal of claws that it unleashed on its prey with in such a fury. why is it considered so much more efficient than a tyrrannosaur (especially T.Rex). And what hard evidence is this based upon. I think it possible that a Tyrannosaur may have have been more efficient (or at least equal) in its pursuing and killing ability than a dromeosaur.

These are Honkie Tong's arguements:

Tyrannosaurus was about as smart as a modern day eagle, according to latest research, much smarter than older estimates. Raptors opening doors? Unlikely. Despite all thier reputation as "intelligent", Raptor brains lack a significant area which is capable of independent thought. A crow or a parrot or (heresy!) shockingly, Tyrannosaurus could have outthought a raptor.

As you can see, there is a real case against the raptors being pack hunters and super killers. But thanks to the media's habit of portraying dinosaurs more like the aliens in the movie Aliens than real animals, these ideas contuine to persist.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 31, 2000


I agree, if we went by the EQ system, Orca wales will be dumber than seals...which is certainly not true at all. Sometimes I wonder if EQ is even a vaugely accucrate way of measuring intelligence.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 31, 2000


Hello everybody! All of us here in Singapore want to wish you a happy new year! It's already the 21st century and the new millennium here in Singapore! I know you people are still a little behind us, but hang on in there, you'll be there soon! But as of now, 2.26 am my local time, Jan 1, 2001, we are still a century and a millennium apart.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, Singapore, Singapore, Singapore; December 31, 2000


*hee hee* I sent that last post very late last night after only skimming the information on this page, and upon closer examination today find that someone has already addressed the issues of claw use and the Protoceratops/Velociraptor fossil, so I guess that's not a big deal at the present. Sorry.
from Gallimimus, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 31, 2000


I have a good friend that is a raptor fan, and when I explained that the dromeosauroids were not as effective hunters as we previously thought. Could someone exlain, in detail why so I can print it out?
from Carchardontosaur, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 31, 2000


Honkie Tong, the limit of intelegence depends on how thick the cortex is. The reson animals with smaller brains are often dumber is because if their cortex was thick, then it might take up alot of the brain. with animals with bigger brains, (apes, man, whales, etc.) it mostly depends on how thick the cortex is.
from Reuben B., age 7, Needham, MA, USA; December 31, 2000


I so fully agree. The birds were certainly smarter than than we thought.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 30, 2000


*pops beak in* Is it safe yet? Sorry, I've had too much going on lately to poke through the stuff that's been up here, but since things have settled down I thought I'd stop by.

Just a question on raptors: While I don't care either way on any of the dromaeosaur issues, I was wondering what everyone thought the sickle claw was for, if not for killing prey. Cassowaries have an enlarged claw, but if I recall it's not structured like a raptor claw and not a good model, but I remember hearing about a phorusrachid (I think the name was Psaripterus, but I'm really not sure) who had a claw that had developed along the lines of raptor claws. Perhaps to cut through the prey after it was dead? The uses of the dromie claw could also call into question the habits of noasaurs and troodontids. In addition to the scavenging Deinonychi, there was also speculation that the (supposed) dromaeosaur Variraptor was also caught in the act of scavenging. Also, is there any new verdict on the Velociraptor/Protoceratops fossil? Since raptors are getting this new look, I thought I'd better check.=) Anyway, whatever they were, dromaeosaurs are still fairly interesting animals, if for no other reason than we can't seem to get them right!

Anyway, I think the hype of many dinosaurs fostered by the media will take us a long, long time to fix, and the people who got us out of the "Dark Age" of dinosaur science are the people who got us into this mess. It is so much easier to capture the public's imagination by saying "Dinosaurs were warm-blooded like mammals!Raptors hunted in packs! Velociraptors are the ancestors of birds! Pachys butted heads! Deinonychus ran around in neon pink scales! (saw that in a dinosaur book once), etc., than it is by pointing out some of the misconceptions (like comparing the metabolism of all dinosaurs to mammals, or Velociraptor somehow falling into the direct ancestry of birds) or the now outdated. Even Tyrannosaurus wasn't spared: look how much attention the scavenging theory gets, when only a few scientists put stock in it, but the media smells something that will make a good headline! Unfortunately, it will be an uphill battle trying to convince many people of what is more accurate, because of course the media and the general public tend to go more for what is "cool" than for what is right.
from Gallimimus, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 30, 2000


I'm BAAAACK! I just noticed the discussion on dinosaur intelligence. Brain size, in truth, has nothing to do with how intelligent an animal is.
from Carchardontosaur, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 30, 2000


I'm not saying that Stegosaurus was a math whiz, I'm saying that it maybe was as smart as a...cow or something like that. Of course, the quadrupedal dinosaurs could develop as large of brains as they needed without worrying about balance problems, so EQ is probably more accurate for them than it is for bipedal ones, like ornithopods and theropods. But the size of Tyrannosaurus' "cerebral folds" isn't determinable from fossil skulls. All we can deduce is the structure of the brain and its size (structure meaning the sizes of the different lobes, and T. rex had an OLFACTORY organ that was actually MORE efficient than an eagle.). I'm just saying that some of the Cretaceous dinosaurs are extremely specialized (i.e. tyrannosauroids and deinonychosaurs) and may have been smarter than commonly conceived, even the dromies. Take _Leaellynasaura_,(ornithopod) which has a large brain cavity, HUGE optic lobes, and an all around huge brain (larger than dein! onychosaurs and around [maybe larger] than that of troodonts). This little guy is very specialized for living through the winters of south polar Australia, and was probably even more intelligent than EQ ratios can show us (if other dinosaurs were as well)! If EQ underestimates dinosaurs like leaellyns, think about how intelligent they could have been!
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 29, 2000


Of course though, there is a pratical limit on brain power based on size. If you have a brain the size of a walnut, you're going to be quite dumb, no matter how efficent your brain is.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 29, 2000


Precisely, that's why we now disregard EQ and look straight at the structure of the brain instead. And the Tyrannosaurids appear to have more efficent brains than the dromies.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 29, 2000


EQ usually works for modern animals, but doesn't work well for birds and even some mammals. Take the fact that humans have lower EQs than squirrels! Just because _Stegosaurus_ had a brain the size of a baseball and a body the size of a bus doesn't mean it was necessarily "stupid." Some birds have "efficient" brains and brain size doesn't mean anything to intelligence. Humans took the easy way to developing intelligence-brain size. But intelligence can also be developed in smaller brains by increasing the size of the "cerebral folds" in the brain. Deinonychosaurs are often quoted as "very intelligent" and EQ analysis shows they were (quite intelligent for dinosaurs) about as smart as emus. But they were so advanced compared to birds that they may have developed an efficient enough brain to be as smart as an eagle or such. You have to remember that for mammals, developing a large brain is really no problem because they have no balance problems. But dinosaurs had to keep equal weight on both sides of its body (tail and head) and a super-large brain would throw this off. It is possible that dinosaurs turned to other methods of making themselves smarter to avoid this problem.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 29, 2000


Once again, we cannot be sure as we know too little about it. But one thing we do know about it is that its some kind of Tyrannosaurid.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 29, 2000


Has anyone heard anything about T. Imperator? Is it officially a new species? Or just a large Rex?
from Sauron, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 29, 2000


I just read this, the reason we believe that roboustus is a female is mainly due to its skull. Roboustus seems to lock a nice little ridge off bony knobs that seem to serve no apparent purpose. To totally associate fragilis hips wwith crocidile hips can be unsound as Tyrannosaurus had an improved posture, unlike a croc's. Unless Tyrannosaurus moved like a croc, then that hip profiling is not valid. If anything, robustus seems to have a wider opening which would have facilitated egg laying. We have possibly found one T.Rex egg, and it seems to better fit robustus than fragilis. But then again, I must say we are going to far on too little, like typical raptor fans. Until more news arrives, alot seems to go for the robustus being female camp. Tyrannosaurus was an unusual animal, and it was different, so why couldn't the female be bigger? I don't see any possible pratical inhibitions. It's a sad thing if we are going to make sweeping statements based on stats alone.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


There are alot of theories running contray. But the bulk of them(and the facts) seem to point towards a bigger female. Robustus seem to have wider hips than fragilis. And surprisingly, both forms have been pbserved to have chervons. Fragilis have skull decoration which is exculsively found in male lizards and birds. The only difference seems to be the size, the supposed "male" rexes were smaller. The only way we cna be sure is to find a T.Rex with eggs still preserved in it, but I believe the chances are rare. I prefer to leave it as such until more evidence appears, instead of going into unnessary fights over it. Remember, you left once because of it.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


You seem extremely certain of that "fact". But how come, till now, we've had no evidence showing pack behaviour or even the raptors attackign big prey? I suspect Utahraptors hunted Hypsilophodontids, not Iguanadons.

New facts just in. That famous fossil find about the associated Deinonychus remains with the Tentosaurus remains have been revised. The Tentosaurus remains were fragmented and badly abraded by a river, while the Deinonychus remains were clean and well preserved. Now we know that the Deinonychus were actually scavenging from the Tentosaurus which had died sometime back, not hunting it. Looks like the pack hunting theory was based on nothing after all. We're flogging a dead horse after all. The raptors did eat big game, but only after it was dead. The casue of death for the Deinonychus are still not know though. If they were really killed in an attempt on the Tentosaurus, we would have found crushed and broken Deinonychus remains, not the well preserved ones. So this along with raptor trackways, the incidance of solitary raptor fossils provides conclusive evidece that the raptors did not hunt in packs.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Oi! Don't you dare insult Short F., he's my brother you know. Well, one thing about the T.Rex sex thingie is that we cannot be too sure. Sertain species may show features that're unusual. Despite the stastics, evidence unusually appears to point to that T.Rex females were bigger. It dosen't really amtter to me because we can't even be sure.

I still don't buy your Utahraptor surviving fall thing. A Utahraptor was 8 times the mass of a lion you know. Forces will be 9 times more. Not to mention a Utahraptor is 6 feet tall. If it fell sideways at 9.8m PER SECOND SQUARD (GRAVITIONAL ACCELERATION) It simply had no time to twist around and land on its feet. Even if it did land on its feet, it would have been a painful experience. Utahraptors are not the agile critters their cousions like Velociraptor were. They were bigger, slower and paid more attention to avoid falling. Yes, I do agree with Jon, he raised a good question. How can a 1 ton Utahraptor launch itself 3 meters into the air and grab on sucessfully onto a moving target? Even lions have problems clearing 2.5 meters and they are ligheter. Before we handle the problem of falls, we have to handle the problem of getting onto the prey at the first place.
Imagine a Utahraptor missing an Iguanadon midair and comes crashing down to the ground. Ouch. But of course, I suspect they could hardly jump above my shoulders.

from Honkie Tong, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


We do attatch alot of value to intelligence. So far, only wolves and primates have been known to use complex hunting stratigies. Cat don't do it. In short, the natural world isn't particually thinking. But still survive all the same.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Well, I can't copy all of the chapter out for you to read, but it dosen't say anywhere that T.Rex was as smart as a parrot. What it's trying to say is that T.Rex was alot smarter than we have thought, even (surprisingly) snmarter than the raptors.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Your wish is my command dot com.

Taken from the "New T.Rex by Duncan Watt" chapter "Thinking for a Meal"

Estimating intelligence for dinosaurs is indeed a tricky and difficult matter. Intelligence has long been estimated by measuring the Encephalization Quotient of an animal. The EQ system is a simple way of measuring an animal's intelligence. EQ is a ratio of the mass of an animal's brain to the mass of its body. Assuming that smarter animals have larger brains to body ratios than less intelligent ones, this helps determine the relative intelligence of extinct animals.

Of course, this is a simple system, and...(long story short)

Well, no one's ever given a dinosaur an IQ test. What we know about is the size of their brains. The larger any beast is, the larger its brain is. But brains don't increase in size as rapidly as bodies. The ratio of brain to body weight is far less in an elephant than it is in a mouse.

Actually, dinosaurs' brains are about the size we'd expect for such huge lizards. Vegetarian dinosaurs had less brain than meat-eaters. Some Tyrannosauruses had twice the brain we've previously though in them.

Relative anaylisis of brian stuctures, which we would expect to give us a clearer picture of dinosaur intelligence, has indicated that Tyrannosaurids like Tyrannosaurus were exceedingly intelligent for their kind, prehaps even more intelligent than the simple-brained Dromaeosaurids, which had been and still are being misqouted for being intelligent. Compaired to Tyrannosaur brains, the brains of Dromaeosaurids were shaped simply and lack a significant cerebrum, which makes sophisticated reasoning possible.

The latest estimates now put Tyrannosaurids on same level with the intelligence of predatory birds like the eagles or falcons while the Dromaeosaurids have been put at the same level as that of mean poultry. But one should know that while all this seems contray to what we have know about, one must know that methods of determining intelligence remained simplistic and inaccucrate for a long time until now. But till now, we're still sure that a crow would have outthought all of dinosauria.

So how does this change or view of large predatory dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus? Well, so now we know for sure Tyrannosaurus had a predator's mental agility. But these new skeletons show us something more. His tiny arms were remarkably strong. He could lift over a ton. The skeletons say little about his tactics. But all the signs point to a better adapted and more frightening foe than we'd thought. They certainly did have the mental equipment to hunt and live in social groups. Groups not as organized as modern day mammal packs, but a group nevertheless. One Tyrannosaurus was deadily enough, now imagine a whole group hunting together. As for the theory for the Dromaeosaurids being able to hunt in organized packs due to their extreme intelligence, well, so much for that theory

So we struggle with a smaller question and find ourselves answering larger ones. Was Tyrannosaurus a predator? Maybe he was after all. He and his scaly friends were certainly better adapted than we thought. And seeing these ancient kinfolk clearly reminds us how fragile our own claim to survival might be.

Back to the subject of intelligence, I personally, remain convinced that intelligence, while it was a valuable survival tool , was not really needed by dinosauria after all. The dinosaurs were perfectly capable of living and surviving in their time despite their relatively low intelligence...but wait. Prehaps the reason they reigned for so long was because some of them were smarter than we thought.

Duncan Watt "The New T.Rex" 2000
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


I doubt T.Rpbustus was female. Most top carnivores have males as larger, for harem protection or such. Remember, some bats have smaller males, thats probably a niche requirement in flying animals. Most dinosaur fossil finds have shown males as larger and/or more built. In birds, the males almost always have the greater colors and/or ornaments. Then the make-up in fragilis' pubic section matches exactly those of female crocs...thats why I think otherwise. You believe in another theory. They bot are theories based on facts. ... Utah raptor has more mass as far as space and wouldnt die or get severly injured from a 3 meter fall. Thats like a lion falling 6 ft. PLEASE! The thing is 6 ft at the hip. Hes a big game hunter, no doubt. Look at those claws.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


See I like to talk dinosaurs, and many of people Im aorund dont like to. So how come when I talk on here, people who dont even know me mess with me? S... and his kind are cowards.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Honkie we add too much to animal intelligence because intelligence can adverse strategies, hunting, ways of life, and habits to certain degrees. Where did you find the information that T.rex could outsmart a raptor??? Arent you a bit to stuck on T.rex there??? No offense, but you seem a little obsessed there buddy. ANyways, where did you find the info on T.rex being smarter than a raptor? Being as smart as a parrot??? I wanna see it!
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


I agree, the EQ system is long outdated. Anyway, animals with extremely low EQs like ants also show complex behaviour. It's likely Dinosaurs were alot smarter than we thought. Tyrannosaurus was about as smart as a modern day eagle, according to latest research, much smarter than older estimates. Raptors opening doors? Unlikely. Despite all thier reputation as "intelligent", Raptor brains lack a significant area which is capable of independent thought. A crow or a parrot or (heresy!) shockingly, Tyrannosaurus could have outthought a raptor. But intelligence aside, the animals were considered "bright" as they could solve their everyday problems using their brians. We as humans attatch too much value to a brain of an animal sometimes.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Why is it that we always seem to get into arguments about "raptors"--"Is it better than T. rex?" "Did it hunt this, or that or this, blah blah blah?" "Was it really cool or not?" Let's just stop arguing and move onto a more peaceful topic! How about dinosaur intelligence? I was recently interested in this topic...it is often assumed that they were very stupid and fossil evidence supports this; most dinosaurs had very small EQs (encephalization quotients) and small heads. What does everyone here think? I personally think that they were smarter than fossil evidence can tell us...
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Reuben, I think that isolation of a dinosaur genome would be big news, but recently a fragment of _Triceratops_ DNA was discovered, and it was very similar to turkey DNA (so similar that the scientists conducting the tests retested for turkey sandwich contamination!).
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


News: Someone is now working on the dinosaur genome! I'd like everyone who reads this post to keep this fact secret.
from Reuben B., age 7, Needham, MA, USA; December 28, 2000


HEY EVERYBODY! Let's stop fighting alright? Anyway, what's so wrong about them agreeing? It dosen't mean they don't amount to anythign or what. It's just that we had the same idea and I happened to say it first. Had they said it first, I would have agreed with them. I don't think you should degrage them as intellectuals, that's not too good an idea. They probally know the raptors better than you or me, being abole to so convincingly argue why it didn't make much sense for the raptors to use their foot claws.(read Jon F's post)
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


The reason I don't talk until aggression rasies is because I am not a regular to this webstite, but when I see an argument going on, I'll take the side I think is right. Did that answer your childish questions? If what I said didn't matter than I don't think what you said really mattered either. You can't shut people out like this. I agree with Honkie because I think he makes more sense and not to mention that he is certainly right.
from FD, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Trash tok? What tokking you brudder? We got tok trash meh? You show us lah then we believe. My brudder say aready, don't accuse us, show us evidence, if not you're the one tokking trash! rite?
from Short F., age 14, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


The reason the raptor could not do it is because they could not. Even if they had every thing working for them, they would be injured in a fall, considering the forces involved (talkign about the larger raptors here). Anyhow, why hunt a Iguanadon that's 2000times your mass when there is a ready supply of smaller and safer animals to kill and eat? I believe big game hunting is only used as a last resort for the raptors. Raptors are built more like cheetahs, capable of sprinting for very short distances. It wouldn't be fair to compair raptors with lions for the simple reason lions are too robust and can absorb more damage. A cheetah is better. Have you ever seen a Cheetah(even in numbers) take down an elephant? No? Then why the raptors?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Are you talking about Short F.? Well, he's my younger brother. Anyway, I wouldn't say that FD and Jon have no say whatsoever. Besides agree with me, they did raise some pretty revalant questions and points about why most of the common ideas about the raptors are wrong. I really learned a thing or two from them.

I'll put it this way: Most of our visions of raptors formed like ideas of them pack hunting and jumping onto the back of prey and so on and so forth have mostly been put forward by a few paleontologists as a possible theory to the evidence they've found. But on closer examination, these theories have been found to be myth. We now know T.Rex probally ran faster than the raptors and the pachies did not ram heads. But the problem is, popular myths take time to kill, and there is going to be alot of resistance to new and more accucrate ideas. Look, the now-quite-dead theory of T.Rex being a full time scavenger is still soldering on in a few people, despite all the evidence to the contray. If anything, popular vote is spoiling the real picture of the raptors.

So do you really want to know the real picture of the raptors? Then reduce the speculation and base your theories on fact. The raptors most probally did NOT use their sickle claws for killing, nor did they hunt big prey with regularity. Their diets most probally consisted of smaller animals and most species did NOT go in packs. Raptors are also NOT built for speed as we have been programmed to believe. That is probally a more accucrate picture of the raptors.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Agreed, lets not fight. The reason 3 meters off a Iguanadon's back to a Utahraptor is compairable to 50 stories off a building to a cat is because the Utahraptor is many times heavier than the cat. The agility ans speed of lighter and smaller designs simply cannot translate onto bigger forms so easily. Bigger animals have to pay more attention to gravity as they can berak a limb in a fall a smaller animal can walk away from. Given their light bones, I can say a raptor is incapable of taking a lot of damage and would risk sever injuries if they attacked big prey, even as a group.

Anyway, yes, T.roboustus is probally a female T.rex.
from Honke Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


We do talk, and I have a mind of my own, thank you very much. You still dont' get it do you? Yes, there is a correct way of falling, but what Honkie has been trying to say is that a 1 ton Utahraptor would seriously hurt itself in a fall, even if it landed correctly.

Anyway, nobody has yet explained how the Utahraptors coudl jump onto their prey. How can a 1 ton animal leap up 3 meters? I havent seen any modern animal weighing a ton that can leap yet. Lions can at most make it up 2-3 meters, and even that is hard for them. I just don't see any reason how Utahraptors can even jump up in the first place, there is a serious neglect of common sensical science when it comes to raptors.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 28, 2000


Look honkie, if I said anything to tick you off, Im sorry, ok? I dont wanna fight or argue or go with the popular vote. I was talking about getting off iguanodon's back, not from a 50th floor type situation. And why is there like 2 people who never talk unless aggression raises? They never have their own view about anything, all they do is agree and theyre agreements dont amount to anything really. Im saying if a raptor got knocked of iguanodon's back, it might be able to jump off halfway or something to keep himself stable or do a correct fall. You can fall without getting hurt, the military uses it, but you have to know how to do it. Big cats can do it. WHy couldnt raptors? I didnt read anyof the posts after I last said what I said, cuz theyre basically insults and trash talking and I dont need it. About the whole T.Rex sex issue, in 1992, it was found T.R.robustus lacks a hemal arch at the proximal caudal vertebrae, which fragilis has, its an acc! omodation for greater egg laying needs. The very same thing is seen in crocs. THe evidence for the female being larger ,1990,is robustus has a larger gap between the ischia and tail vertebrae than fragilis. THis is the facts. Not to mention more robust forms of t.rex types have wattles or skin bags(found in mongolia)under their neck. Honkie Im not the best in physics math, but I know biology, dinosaurology, and the like, I just wont let one thing stop me from loving prehistoric life.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 27, 2000


And again, where did we lie, falsify about our points? Pick one out and tell me. Don't accuse me, show me evidence. Mabye its a trait of raptor fans, to make a statement without having any evidence. Mabye that's why they buy the hard to believe and unproven pack hunting theory so easily. As BBD would say "weak minded."

(PS. I guess things are going out of control. I'll tone down my posts form here.)
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 27, 2000


Oh yes, and by the way, how does your alliged swervign and turning in the air help to handle 100 kilonewtons? Seesh!

It's like askign a guy to comment on drink driving and he starts talkign about robbery instead. OUT OF POINT MISTER!
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 27, 2000


You are so correct Honkie, I so agree with you. I'm no T.Rex fan but I certainly think that the raptors have been mollycoded and dolled up by the media to be the superefficent killer it actually is not. By compairism, no other group of dinosauria gets as much attention as the raptors, not even T.Rex. But the reason the raptor are not the most popular is that a lot of people know much better than to trust the media and a few paleontologist writing some books. Really, the raptor pack theory and back ripping blitzkriegs we are so constanaly reminded off as "fact" are simply speculation and reads like a bad action movie plot.

No, I don't think the raptors can twist and swerve midair like birds. They are pretty unaerodynamic and dumpy. In fact, even the profile of T.Rex is sleeker, and more streamlined. Really, all our favourite ideas of the raptors stand really far out on the limb of speculation. It's little wonder many paleontologists worldwide are throughly tired of the raptors.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 27, 2000


But I'm puzzled, even if they could twist and swerve mid air, how could they take 100 kilonewtons? A cat will still die if you drop it from the 50th floor, despite it swerving and turning mid air. And also, you haven't answered anything about the challanges to the pack hunting theory? Could you stop attacking me and start answering the other posts sent here instead? Or prehaps you don't have an answer?

Mabye FD was right, most of our ideas about the raptors were formed by the media, and they are repeated so regulary that it becomes gospel and accepted as fact. Come to think of it, most of our so called "facts" about the raptors was based on little evidence at all, those pack hunting and sickle claw hunting theories were just exciting theories that got so popular they were accepted as fact. And prehaps that's why the fans of the raptors get very aggressive and defensive and waste their time attacking the challangers to their cherished ideas instead. If you attack me instead of my posts, you've aready lost.

And by the way, no, I'm no scientist, but I am a O' level GCSE Physics student, and am more than qualified to make such calculations. It's apparent you donno nothin' about science at all. When we talk about energy converted in a fall, you talk about energy used to run. If you know so little abotu science, how then...do you expect us to take you seriously?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 27, 2000


Sorry if I sounded agressive, but I'm not trying to pick a fight, really.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 27, 2000


Honkie TOng, I do have an answer for you. Raptors could swerve, twist and move in mid-air and thats fact. Honkie Tong, go back to the other forum, your not a real scientist and all you wanna do is fight because your shallow and a snively, nerdy little worm without a life. Get outta here. Ive seen what youve said, about the T.rex fan withwhoever and in science, there is not a place for people who lie, falsify and tell what is popular just cause its the popular vote. Most of what you say is your opinion and thats ALL it is. HAhaha.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 27, 2000


Woah woah, there's a huge load of assumpitions going on in here. This is a science forum. The theory that raptors hunted in packs is just a theory not a fact. And not to mention that theory is lacking alot of facts to make it hold. Not to shock you, but we've more evidence that T.rex hunted in packs than all the evidence from all the raptor species ever found. So, there is nothing to support you raptor pack hunting claim Madhatter.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 25, 2000


Based on physics and biology, there is no reason to suggest how a Utahraptor could have survived a fall from the provibal Iguanadon. Can you offer an answer Madhatter? Can you suggest how a Utahraptor could handle 100 kilonewtons?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 25, 2000


It's blatantly obvious that T.Rex would use more energy as he was many, many times bigger. What I do know is that he was a far more efficent mover as his long legs gave his a better recovery rate (energy recovered after two steps) than the raptor. All in all, I would say that there is absolutely nothing but assumpitions to suggest that the raptors were just as capable. In fact, the raptor big game hunter theory has a lot of big holes in it that simply cannot hold it as a good theory.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 25, 2000


Move around easier than T.rex? Based on what?
based on the countless number of books I've seen that describe them as being "built for speed"

Dromaeosaurs have just about the shortest and broadest tibiae and metatarsals of the nonavian theropods. Tyrannosaurids have the longest and most slender tibiae and metatarsals for any theropod in their size range. On top of that, tyrannosaurids have some nice shock-abosrbing potential in their feet. All other things being equal, a tyrannosaurid should be expected to cover more ground per unit time (aka, speed) than a dromaeosaurid of the same size.
this would make tyrannosaurids among the fastestest of its time for its size,and definitely faster than its prey.
This supports my original claims , that there is nothing to prove that Dromaeosaurs were seemingly better (or more efficient) hunters.

Every time I see something that says that dromeosaurs "best" suited for hunting I can't help but question what this is based on. Is it mostly assumption. Is it that they are seemingly "better suited for
speed",Or the arsenal of claws that it unleashed on its prey with in such a fury. why is it considered so much more efficient than a tyrrannosaur (especially T.Rex). And what hard evidence is this based upon. I think it possible that a Tyrannosaur may have have been more efficient (or at least equal) in its pursuing and killing ability than a dromeosaur.

In fact, every predator of which fossils are found undoubtedly was very efficient in what it was doing for its living in its habitat.From the Cambrian anomalocarids, the Silurian eurypterids, the Devonian arthrodires, the Carboniferous loxommatids, the Permian
gorgonopians, to the La Brea smilodons ... each time and place saw
its most efficient predators, extremely well suited for preying on
the creatures it had coevolved with. The very existence of a predator
in the fossil record proves its efficiency as such. Or otherwise stated, each predator is the most efficient killer for the particular animal which serves as its main dinner.

On the other hand, heavy specialization to preying on a particular kind of animal (for example development of extreme canines and heavy
shoulder muscles, plus size increase in Smilodon, probably in adaptation to predation of the Pleistocene megaherbivores) makes the
predator more dependent on its preferred prey and more prone to extinction. More generalist carnivory (and even omnivory) might be more efficient in the long run.

(efficiency in the sense of getting more offspring, surviving as a
species (or giving rise to new species by anagenesis or radiation)
for a longer time and in a broader geographical or ecological range etc...)

To go back to where I started from, when I would be forced to vote for the most efficient dinosaur predator (and thus forgetting for a while what I just stated) I would choose the blackbird, the
thrush and the crow and certainly the Tyrannosaur, rather than the dromaeosaur.

I hardly think there is a lot of hostility towards raptors. It's just people who really know dinosaurs don't buy the raptor being superefficent hunters as there is simply a dirth of good evidence. Extraoridinary claims need extraoridanary evidence, which has been sorely lacking in the dromaeosaur.

One thing I find extremely irrating is the assumption of pack behaviour in raptors. Pack behaviour has only been observed in Deinyochus. And not to mention, in that case, two of the Deinyochus died in the killing of the prey. If they were really superefficent and sucessful, than two deaths for a kill is a simply unacceptable attrition rate. Evidence contray to pack behaviour has been readily avaiable in other species of raptor. Which makes me wonder hard why people have readily based pack behaviour as the only possibility for ALL the raptors. Which is odd, considering the lack of good evidence.

Another thing. Even the word "pack behaviour" is a misnomer. The dromaeosaurs weren't really smart animals, despite popular media. Which makes your claim of distracting prey while cooperating members disable it extremely difficulat to believe. Did the dromaeosaur really hunt that way? No, there is hardly any hostility towards raptors, but I believe a lot of our ideas about them are simplistic and media-infulenced.
from F De Nota, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 25, 2000


Dinosaurs provide tremendous stimulation for the imagination. While we used to imagine the Mesozoic world as a landscape of sluggish swampdwellers, we now envision a world populated by a panoply of colorful, noisy, fast and cunning hot-blooded monsters. This is great for the Dinobiz, but does it make scientific sense? Did Dinosaurs operate under rules of physiology and evolutionary pressure substantially different from those of today? Did they develop markedly better solutions for dealing with their world than those that have evolved since? Let's look at the currently hot group, Dromaeosaurs, popularly known today as the Raptors. In movies, books and magazines these smallish theropods comprised the fastest and nastiest, and possibly smartest Dinosaurs ever. They were dressed to the nines in spikes and knives; cold-blooded homeothermic killers. While all members of this class had an impressive set of saw-edged teeth and formidably clawed forelimbs, it is the hypertrophied claws on the second toes of their hindlimbs that have transfixed our imagination. We are repeatedly told that these agile carnivores hunted in packs, slashing their large but lumbering prey to death in a series of back-foot blitzkriegs. Wait...does this really make sense? Did they really hunt in organized packs? Did they really use those curvaceous claws for slicing and dicing formidable foes into hors-d'ouvres sized snacks? I suspect it was more likely they rarely ate anything that couldn't have been nailed in a one-bite solo effort unless it was already dead. Heresy!!? Stop and consider this from an evolutionary standpoint. As Raptors were lightly built, they probably did rely on speed and agility. As they were bipedal, their back legs would have been essential to their survival. Almost any injury to such important structures would have been rapidly fatal to a creature relying on pursuit speed and kicking power. Want to hurt a back leg? Try to kick a large and angry herbivore that basically consists of thick skin over huge muscles. Ribs, pelvic bones, scutes, shields and flailing limbs would have made vital organs difficult targets. Aside from the likely humiliation of breaking a nail, they would have been at high risk for shattering a leg trying such tactics. Crippled dinosaurs didn't have a high likelihood of reproducing, leaving them losers in Darwin's evolutionary derby. Perhaps that is why they vanished by the mid-Cretaceous, giving way to the smash-mouth hunting tactics of the Tyrannosaurs. It is more likely that Raptors mostly used their razor-like teeth on smaller prey. If they did use claws, it was probably the impressive armament on their forelimbs which would have been much easier to control and less risky to survival if injured. So, what were those carpet cutters for? If there had to be a feeding function, consider other possibilities. They would have been useful for cutting through thick skin after their meal had been immobilized by other means. They could have been used to rip aprt termite nests and beehives, or to dig up whatever resembled prairie dog towns of their era. If they had a taste for escargot, the claws were perfectly shaped for extracting the delicate morsels from their spiral shells.

I'm certain that every reader who has put up with me this far is thinking about the famous Velociraptor versus Protoceratops fossil where both died locked in mortal combat, proving the function of the slashing claw. Yes, the poor Raptor was using its foot, but probably as a defensive weapon! After all, it was probably trying to raid a nest for a meal of one-bite babies when it was attacked by one of those angry herbivores alluded to above. The large slashing claw on the cassowary is a good example of such a weapon evolving purely for defensive purposes. These birds are incredibly dangerous when trapped in close quarters although they are more likely to run away than take chances with their valuable legs in a battle. It makes sense to risk an incapacitating injury only if the alternative is being eaten.

If you are uncomfortable with these magnificent structures solely serving a protective function, what could be a more likely use? Why, sex of course. Many of the most extravagant and bizarre structures in nature are primarily used to attract a mate or to intimidate rivals. A set of large claws could be very useful for displaying to a potential mate or for ritualized combat. Look at the modern rooster, possessing impressive and dangerous spurs, but hardly famed as a fierce hunter.

While difficult to prove either way, it is easier to imagine Raptors having the coordination required for mating displays than the control needed for accurately kicking an opponent in a life or death battle. Despite their reputation for having relatively large brains, it is unlikely that such complex coordination would have been possible. No other animal has developed that style of hunting since, even if birds grab smaller prey with their feet and many animals do use their feet for defensive functions.
While on the subject of brain function, I have to add that the concept of Raptors hunting in organized packs inspires incredulity. No reptile, or bird for that matter possesses the social structure to accomplish that and it is doubtful that Dinosaurs with relatively small brain-to-body mass ratios could have pulled it off. Swarming on common prey is observed with many animals including crocodilians, large lizards and vultures, although it isn't truly cooperative social behavior. Finding fossils showing a group of Deinonychus with one large herbivore certainly doesn't prove or even imply social structure any more than finding a collection of flies around a dead rat.

One of the great joys of science is interpreting the evidence available. The Raptors are a fascinating group that truly deserves tremendous attention. All too often it seems that one view of fragmentary data becomes accepted as gospel and is repeated over and over as fact. The most obvious or exciting interpretation is not always the correct one. It is always fun to keep questioning, even if you get branded a heretic.
from Jon F, age ?, ok, ?, usa; December 25, 2000


One more thing, what makes you think they hunted in a pack anyway? (Scratching head)
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 25, 2000


My point is, no raptor can take 100kilonewtons and get away with it. Period. Geeze, do you learn GCSE physics?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 25, 2000


First of all, dont call me brudder, A T.rex would use much more energy than a raptor..raptors are lighter and have enough muscle to move them around easily, more easily than a T.rex could move his body. Raptors were definitely built for large game, they werent above taking something small, but either way they were large game hunters. THose huge claws could take down big herbivores. Maybe not in a instant, but to cut the gut, chest and/or neck, leg, etc. and have other pack members keep bouncing around him keeping him in a state of panic and adrenalined exertion would take him down pretty quick. He might not be dead, but all his energy to just stand up would be dropped. Sometimes it seems theres alot of hostility towards raptors, they were just as capable as any other carnosaur and equalized, but with different tools of destruction. Its the same story in the eocene and pliocene fauna. Honkie Tong, werent you in the other forum place? from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 25, 2000


100 kilonewtons, my goodness, 100 kilonewtons! Do you people have any idea about the forces you are dealing with here? To put it in prespective, a falling Utahraptor falling 3 meters would have about KE=0.5MVsquare J. Which is equal to 0.5*1000*3= 1500 joules! 1.5 KJ! That energy can run you at jogging speeds for ten minutes! Imagine all that energy being converted in that Utahraptor in a split second! Recovery? I don't think so. Not even a T.rex could stand that!
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 24, 2000


I don't think raptors are so agile brudder. They weighed about 80-120 kilos, medium sized. I just don't see modern day birds weighing 80-120 kilos being super agile liek you said. How can you compair a raptor to a bird weighing about 100-600 grams?! I think gravity has more effect on the raptors.
from Short F., age 14, ?, ?, ?; December 24, 2000


One more thing. If they did land perfectly on thier feet, 100 kilonewtons would have much more than enough to destroy their legs anyway.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 24, 2000


I'm not too sure about that Mad Hatter. Birds can fly not Dinosaurs. So I'm not sure if your points are valid. You're talking about a 1 ton Utahraptor over here. If you knew your physics, a three meter fall will have a load of f=ma, which is 10000*10 = 100000 newtons or 100 kilonewtons of force! More than enough to break a cow's hip! No, but I don't think a Utahraptor can recover after sustaining 100 kilonewtons of force in a fall. A fall back would break its back, a side fall would break a series of ribs or a hip. Either way, it would be seriously injured. 100 kilonewtons! Even that force would wind a T.rex badly!

Recover? I don't think so. Anyway, I not so sure you should compair raptors to pigeons as pigeons have virtually no legs. Why not compair them to chickens? But to tell you, I accidently hit an annoying chicken too hard and broke its legs. Hardly robust I tell you.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; December 24, 2000


Those arms do look spindly, but maybe they didnt need to be supermuscled. Look at those humongously oversized claws shaped like sickles. Then raptors could turn in the air, not to mention they were hollow boned in many areas, so jumping, running and slashing wouldnt really have winded them real bad, since air in the bones allowed faster cooling. Raptors were more built to hit you from a distance and bounce around much faster than the prey item could swerve. THink about bouncing little birds and how quick they can move backward and to the side, not to mention a wing slap, despite spindly arms is a very hard and stunning blow, especial;y if youve been slapped by a pigeon. So adding huge claws to the hands, then bouncing and jumping with kicks that could gut wouldve taken larger prey, no doubt. But raptors were too light to have taken big animals on their lonesome. BUt the larger type of raptors are really solid and large creatures, huge hands, feet an! d head. THose animals like utahraptor couldve taken an iguanodon, and sustained a fall anyway, no to mention they probably swerved in the air like a puma to avoid breaking something.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, USA and PROUD; December 23, 2000


I too don't share you sentiment unknown person, but I do agree that it wouldn't be in the best intrests of raptors to attack prey larger than themselves. They could have easily risked breaking a few bones, given their light construction. Imagine a Utaraptor weighting a good ton falling from a buckling and rearing Igaunadon, a good fall of 2 to 3 meters. The raptor will be terribly winded after that. I don't think raptors have particually strong arms though.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


I'm from America too.
I never heard about deinonychosaurs having weak arms...but some of them like _Utahraptor_ had large deadly claws on their forearms that were probably used in slashing attacks. I don't think "raptor" arms were that weak.

from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


I'm from America and I'm proud of it. Billy Macdraw what country are you from?
from firebird, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


Not really, but its self-apparent, like looking at a Torosaurus frill and saying its used for direct protection from attack. Looking at the raptors arms, you would notice its real spindy and thin, not like the bones of a strong armed animal, but more like a bird. These arms in life wold not have been seriously muscled.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


What country is everyone from?
from Madhatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


Its all frosty chandler. I would say spinosaurus was more active than T.rex in certain seasons and then more sluggish, given his spines are shaped more like a camels or buffalos(fat holders) than sail spines. I got that from DIscover magazine. Whoever said raptors had weak arms, where did you find that information???
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


Dromaeosaurs did not have powerful arms. These spindy structures were perfect for grapsing small mammals or dinosaurs but were weakely muscled- hardly good for grasping big prey. In a way, Dromaeosaur arms are extremely similar to human arms. Tyrannosaurus would have easily out performed any raptor in the arm-strength department. ]

Also, Dromaeosaurs ahve a light construction. Mabye I'm wrong, but does a fall or a kick from a herdosaur means certain death, given it's fragile construction?
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


The use of grappeling arms is called into questioned. If Spinosaurus is going to hunt big prey, it's gonna have to rear up like a bear to use its arms. Which is difficult, given its extremely long tail and horizontal trunk posture. Also the arms... arms used for killing are supposed to have thick tibulae for strength and muscle attatchment, which is not what we find in Spinosaurus. It had "normal" arms. Spinosaurus was certainly less well equipped than Tyrannosaurus. I suspect Spinosaurus could have been a fish eater, not a dinosaur that commonly hunts big prey, like Tyrannosaurus Rex Osborne.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 21, 2000


I'm sorry if I seemed like I was "picking a fight" MadHatter, but I wasn't trying to that way. Your post was hard to understand and I thought you were trying to say that you thought Spinosaurus was more of an active hunter than Tyrannosaurus...sorry.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 20, 2000


Limbs may be of importance for the animals you listed, but unfortunately they are not T. rex. T. rex's arm size did not hinder its hunting abilities at all...that's what I was saying.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 20, 2000


Yeah, but we must remember that Chimps are hardly deadily killers. Bears can afford to use their limbs because of their considerable bulk. If you are gonna use yer limbs to kill most of the time, yer don't have too good a survival stratigey. I don't think anybody was trying to pick a fight with you but Spinosaurus was probally more a scavenger than a predator. Tyrannosaurus was more a hunter than a scavenger, that's the point. I am afraid your post is wrong.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 19, 2000


Your trying to pick a fight chandler. I said already I didnt agree with horner on that. Tyrannosaurus was a runner type killer, his legs are so long and hes so skinny for his size compared to other carnosaurs, even the lith troodonts! Limbs mean nothing???? Aw contrare ol boy, tell that to thylacoleo, chimpanzees, brown bears and to smilodonts when it came to small prey. Limbs can mean alot, even take a higher percentage of the killing rather than the head if long, strong and deadly enough. Dromaeosaurs likely did more killing with limbs than head when it came to animals the mouth couldnt tackle, since the bones tell us the limbs were fast, tight and powerful. Brown bears mainly kill large prey with their limbs rather than the head(this is documented)and chimpanzees kill about 96% with their limbs rather than their mouths, now bears and chimps are omnivores, but still, they are acting in a carnivorous way of life that makes killing a common thing in life(less than lions, but still a common thing) Maybe something evolved in gondwana that killed half with limbs and improved from there. Spinosaurs hace some awfully large nasty looking hands and arms extremely long, so long in fact that some scientist think they lumbered around on all fours, even if they did, the body was better capable of fast movin on 2 legs like the rest of the order theropoda.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 19, 2000


Are you saying that Tyrannosaurus was a scavenger and Spinosaurus was not, MadHatter? Hehe...Tyrannosaurus had enormous jaws and an enormous suprocciptal crest to support them. Spinosaurus had weak jaws. Forelimbs mean nothing. Jaws were superbly capable in T. rex's case for killing. Spinosaurus was therefore more likely to be more of a "scavenger" than T. rex (I put "scavenger" in quotations because there is no such thing as a true, 100% flightless scavenging animal).
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 15, 2000


(Horner also comments that the Spinosaurus "was a true predator. Many people think that the T-Rex was a predator, but he was actually a scavenger." When you see the two next to each other this makes sense. The Spinosaurus has long arms that it could actually grab things with; T-Rex of course has those tiny little limbs that really couldn't do much. Most of his attack was with his mouth.)Remember, Horner is on the same level with Bakker! I dont think the whole 90% scavenger thing is right though.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 15, 2000


Russel P, Mussaurus could be a Coloradisaurus hatchling, but it hasn't been proven since scientists only have a fragmentary Coloradisaurus skeleton and a baby Mussaurus. Dinosaurs look very strange as babies, and it's often hard to tell if they have already been named/discovered. Like the whole Megaraptor/Unenlagia thing...
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 15, 2000


there is no such thing as a Mussasaurus!!!!!!!! They are hatchlings of the Coliradosaurus, ok?
from russell p, age ?, seattle, wa, usa; December 14, 2000


Evolution is Just adaptation. THere isnt much proof of one class to another typpe evolution. U know I hate this place, everyone is hostile and ready to verbally fight.
from Big D., age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 12, 2000


Dialectical materialism, elaborated by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, was concerned with much more than political economy: it was a world view. Nature, as Engels in particular sought to demonstrate in his writings, is proof of the correctness of both materialism and dialectics. "My recapitulation of mathematics and the natural sciences," he wrote, "was undertaken in order to convince myself also in detail…that in nature amid the welter of innumerable changes, the same dialectical laws of motion force their way through as those which in history govern the apparent fortuitousness of events…" (16)

Since their day, every important new advance in scientific discovery has confirmed the Marxian outlook although scientists, because of the political implications of an association with Marxism, seldom acknowledge dialectical materialism. Now, the advent of chaos theory provides fresh backing for the fundamental ideas of the founders of scientific socialism. Up to now chaos has been largely ignored by scientists, except as a nuisance or something to be avoided. A tap drips, sometimes regularly, sometimes not; the movement of a fluid is either turbulent or not; the heart beats regularly but sometimes goes into a fibrillation; the weather blows hot or cold. Wherever there is motion that appears to be chaotic-and it is all around us-there is generally little attempt to come to terms with it from a strictly scientific point of view.

What then, are the general features of chaotic systems? Having described them in mathematical terms, what application does the mathematics have? One of the features given prominence by Gleick and others is what has been dubbed "the butterfly effect." Lorenz, had discovered on his computer-simulated weather a remarkable development. One of his simulations was based on twelve variables, including, as we said, non-linear relationships. He found that if he started his simulation with values that were only slightly different from the original-the difference being that one set were down to six decimal places and the second set down three places-then the "weather" produced by the computer soon veered wildly from the original. Where perhaps a slight perturbation might have been expected, there was, only after a brief period of recognisable similarity, a completely different pattern.

This means that in a complex, non-linear system, a small change in the input could produce a huge change in the output. In Lorenz's computer world, it was equivalent to a butterfly's wing-beat causing a hurricane in another part of the world; hence the expression. The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that, given the complexity of the forces and processes that go to determine the weather, it can never be predicted beyond a short period of time ahead. In fact, the biggest weather computer in the world, in the European centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasting, does as many as 400 million calculations every second. It is fed 100 million separate weather measurements from around the world every day, and it processes data in three hours of continuous running, to produce a ten day forecast. Yet beyond two or three days the forecasts are speculative, and beyond six or seven they are worthless. Chaos theory, then, sets definite limits to the predictability of complex non-li! near systems.

It is strange, nevertheless, that Gleick and others have paid so much attention to the butterfly effect, as if it injects a strange mystique into chaos theory. It is surely well established (if not accurately modelled mathematically) that in other similarly complex systems a small input can produce a large output, that an accumulation of "quantity" can be transformed to "quality." There is only a difference of less than two per cent, for example, in the basic genetic make-up of human beings and chimpanzees-a difference that can be quantified in terms of molecular chemistry. Yet in the complex, non-linear processes that are involved in translating the genetic "code" into a living animal, this small dissimilarity means the difference between one species and another.

Marxism applies itself to perhaps the most complex of all non-linear systems-human society. With the colossal interaction of countless individuals, politics and economics constitute so complex a system that alongside it, the planet's weather systems looks like clockwork. Nevertheless, as is the case with other "chaotic" systems, society can be treated scientifically-as long as the limits, like the weather, are understood. Unfortunately, Gleick's book is not clear on the application of chaos theory to politics and economics. He cites an exercise by Mandelbrot, who fed his IBM computer with a hundred year's worth of cotton prices from the New York exchange. "Each particular price change was random and unpredictable," he writes. "But the sequence of changes was independent of scale: curves for daily and monthly price changes matched…the degree of variation had remained constant over a tumultuous 60-year period that saw two world wars and a depression." (17)

This passage cannot be taken on face value. It may be true that within certain limits, it is possible to see the same mathematical patterns that have been identified in other models or chaotic systems. But given the almost limitless complexity of human society and economics, it is inconceivable that major events like wars would not disrupt these patterns. Marxists would argue that society does lend itself to scientific study. In contrast to those who see only formlessness, Marxists see human development from the starting point of material forces, and a scientific description of social categories like classes, and so on. If the development of chaos science leads to an acceptance that the scientific method is valid in politics and economics, then it is a valuable plus. However, as Marx and Engels have always understood, theirs is an inexact science, meaning that broad trends and developments could be traced, but detailed and intimate knowledge of all influences and conditions is! not possible.

Cotton prices notwithstanding, the book gives no evidence that this Marxist view is wrong. In fact, there is no explanation as to why Mandelbrot apparently saw a pattern in only 60 years' prices when he had over 100 years' of data to play with. In addition, elsewhere in the book, Gleick adds that "economists have looked for strange attractors in stock market trends but so far had not found them." Despite the apparent limitations in the fields of economics and politics, however, it is clear that the mathematical "taming" of what were thought to be random or chaotic systems has profound implications for science as a whole. It opens up many vistas for the study of processes that were largely out of bounds in the past.

Division of Labour

One of the main characteristics of the great scientists of the Renaissance was that they were whole human beings. They had an all-rounded development, which enabled, for example, Leonardo da Vinci to be a great engineer, mathematician and mechanician, as well as an artist of genius. The same was true of Dührer, Machiavelli, Luther, and countless others, of whom Engels wrote:

"The heroes of that time were not yet in thrall to the division of labour, the restricting effects of which, with its production of one-sidedness, we so often notice in their successors." (18) The division of labour, of course, plays a necessary role in the development of the productive forces. However, under capitalism, this has been carried to such an extreme that it begins to turn into its opposite.

The extreme division, on the one hand, between mental and manual labour means that millions of men and women are reduced to a life of unthinking drudgery on the production line, denied of any possibility to display the creativity and inventiveness which is latent in every human being. At the other extreme, we have the development of a kind of intellectual priestly caste which has arrogated to itself the sole right to the title of "guardians of science and culture." To the degree that these people become remote from the real life of society, this has a negative effect on their consciousness. They develop in an entirely narrow, one-sided way. Not only is there an abyss separating "artists" from scientists, but the scientific community itself is riven with ever-increasing divisions between increasingly narrow specialisations. It is ironic that, precisely when the "lines of demarcation" between physics, chemistry and biology are breaking down, the gulf which divides even different! branches of, say, physics has become virtually unbridgeable.

James Gleick describes the situation thus:

"Few laymen realise how tightly compartmentalised the scientific community had become, a battleship with bulkheads sealed against leaks. Biologists had enough to read without keeping up with the mathematical literature-for that matter, molecular biologists had enough to read without keeping up with population biology, physicists had better ways to spend their time than sifting through the meteorology journals."

In recent years, the advent of chaos theory is one of the indications that something is beginning to change in the scientific community. Increasingly, scientists from different fields feel that they have somehow reached a dead end. It is necessary to break out in a new direction. The birth of chaos mathematics, therefore, is a proof as Engels would have said, of the dialectical character of nature, a reminder that reality consists of whole dynamic systems, or even one whole system, and not of models (however useful) abstracted from them. What are the main features of chaos theory? Gleick describes them in the following way:

"To some physicists, chaos is a science of process rather than state, of becoming rather than being."

"They feel that they are turning back a trend in science towards reductionism, the analysis of systems in terms of their constituent parts: quarks, chromosomes, or neutrons. They believe that they are looking for the whole."

The method of dialectical materialism is precisely to look at "process rather than state, of becoming rather than being." "More and more over the past decade, he'd begun to sense that the old reductionist approaches were reaching a dead end, and that even some of the hard-core physical scientists were getting fed up with mathematical abstractions that ignored the real complexities of the world. They seemed to be half-consciously groping for a new approach-and in the process, he thought, they were cutting across the traditional boundaries in a way they hadn't done in years. Maybe centuries." (19)

Because chaos is a science of whole dynamic systems, rather than separate parts, it represents, in effect, an unacknowledged vindication of the dialectical view. Up to now, scientific investigation has been too much isolated into its constituent parts. In pursuit of the "parts" the scientific specialist becomes too specialised not infrequently losing all sight of the "whole." Experimentation and theoretical rationalisations thus became increasingly removed from reality. More than a century ago, Engels criticised the narrowness of what he called the metaphysical method, which consisted of looking at things in an isolated way, which lost sight of the whole. The starting point of the supporters of chaos theory was a reaction against precisely this method, which they call "reductionism." Engels explained that the "reduction" of the study of nature to separate disciplines is to some extent necessary and inevitable.

"When we reflect on nature or the history of mankind or our own intellectual activity, at first we see the picture of an endless maze of connections in which nothing remains what, where and as it was, but everything moves, changes, comes into being and passes away…

"But this conception, correctly as it expresses the general character of the picture of phenomena as a whole, does not suffice to explain the details of which this picture is made up, and so long as we cannot do this, we are not clear about the whole picture. In order to understand these details we must detach them from their natural or historical connection and examine each one separately according to its nature, special causes and effects, etc."

But as Engels warned, too great a retreat into "reductionism" can lead to an undialectical view, or a drift to metaphysical ideas.

"The analysis of nature into its individual parts, the division of the different natural processes and objects into definite classes, the study of the internal anatomy of organic bodies in their manifold forms-these were the fundamental conditions for the gigantic strides in our knowledge of nature that have been made during the last four hundred years. But this has bequeathed us the habit of observing natural objects and processes in isolation, detached from the general context; of observing them not in their motion, but in their state of rest; not as essentially variable elements, but as constant ones; not in their life, but in their death." (20)

Now compare this with the following passage from Gleick's book:

"Scientists break things apart and look at them one at a time. If they want to examine the interaction of subatomic particles, they put two or three together. There is complication enough. The power of self-similarity, though, begins at much greater levels of complexity. It is a matter of looking at the whole." (21)

If we substitute the word "reductionism" for "the metaphysical mode of thought," we see that the central idea is identical. Now see what conclusion Engels drew from his criticism of reductionism ("the metaphysical method"):

"But for dialectics, which grasps things and their images, ideas, essentially in their interconnection, in their sequence, their movement, their birth and death, such processes as those mentioned above are so many corroborations of its own method of treatment. Nature is the test of dialectics, and it must be said for modern natural science that it has furnished extremely rich and daily increasing materials for this test, and has thus proved that in the last analysis Nature's process is dialectical and not metaphysical.

"But the scientists who have learnt to think dialectically are still few and far between, and hence the conflict between the discoveries made and the old traditional mode of thought is the explanation of the boundless confusion which now reigns in theoretical natural science and reduces both teachers and students, writers and readers to despair." (22)

Over one hundred years ago, old Engels accurately describes the state of the physical sciences today. This is acknowledged by Ilya Prigogine (Nobel-prize winner for chemistry 1977) and Isabelle Stengers in their book Order Out of Chaos, Man's New Dialogue with Nature, where they writes the following:

"To a certain extent, there is an analogy between this conflict (between Newtonian physics and the new scientific ideas) and the one that gave rise to dialectical materialism…The idea of a history of nature as an integral part of materialism was asserted by Marx and, in greater detail, by Engels. Contemporary developments in physics, the discovery of the constructive role played by irreversibility, have thus raised within the natural sciences a question that has long been asked by materialists. For them, understanding nature meant understanding it as being capable of producing man and his societies.

"Moreover, at the time Engels wrote his Dialectics of Nature, the physical sciences seemed to have rejected the mechanistic world view and drawn closer to the idea of an historical development of nature. Engels mentions three fundamental discoveries: energy and the laws governing its qualitative transformations, the cell as the basic constituent of life, and Darwin's discovery of the evolution of species. In view of these great discoveries, Engels came to the conclusion that the mechanistic world view was dead." (23)

Despite all the wonderful advances of science and technology, there is a deep-seated feeling of malaise. An increasing number of scientists are beginning to rebel against the prevailing orthodoxies and seek new solutions to the problems facing them. Sooner or later, this is bound to result in a new revolution in science, similar to the one effected by Einstein and Planck nearly a century ago. Significantly, Einstein himself was far from being a member of the scientific establishment.

"The mainstream for most of the twentieth century," Gleick remarks, "has been particle physics, exploring the building blocks of matter at higher and higher energies, smaller and smaller scale, shorter and shorter times. Out of particle physics have come theories about the fundamental forces of nature and about the origin of the universe. Yet some young physicists have grown dissatisfied with the direction of the most prestigious of sciences. Progress has begun to seem slow, the naming of new particles futile, the body of theory cluttered. With the coming of chaos, younger scientists believed they were seeing the beginnings of a course change for all of physics. The field had been dominated long enough, they felt, by the glittering abstractions of high-energy particles and quantum mechanics."

Chaos and Dialectics

It is as yet too early to form a definitive view of chaos theory. However, what is clear is that these scientists are groping in the direction of a dialectical view of nature. For example, the dialectical law of the transformation of quantity into quality (and vice versa) plays a prominent sole in chaos theory:

"He (Von Neumann) recognised that a complicated dynamical system could have points of instability-critical points where a small push can have large consequences, as with a ball balanced at the top of a hill."

And again:

"In science as in life, it is well known that a chain of events can have a point of crisis that could magnify small changes. But chaos meant that such points were everywhere. They were pervasive." (24)

These and many other passages reveal a striking resemblance between certain aspects of chaos theory and dialectics. Yet the most incredible thing is that most of the pioneers of "chaos" seem to have not the slightest knowledge not only of the writings of Marx and Engels, but even of Hegel! In one sense, this provides even more striking confirmation of the correctness of dialectical materialism. But in another, it is a frustrating thought that the absence of an adequate philosophical framework and methodology has been denied to science needlessly and for such a long time.

For 300 years, physics was based on linear systems. The name linear refers to the fact that if you plot such an equation on a graph, it emerges as a straight line. Indeed, much of nature appears to work precisely in this way. This is why classical mechanics is able to describe it adequately. However, much of nature is not linear, and cannot be understood through linear systems. The brain certainly does not function in a linear manner, nor does the economy, with its chaotic cycle of booms and slumps. A non-linear equation is not expressed in a straight line, but takes into account the irregular, contradictory and frequently chaotic nature of reality.

"All this makes me feel very unhappy about cosmologists who tell us that they've got the origins of the Universe pretty well wrapped up, except for the first millisecond or so of the Big Bang. And with politicians who assure us that not only is a solid dose of monetarism going to be good for us, but they're so certain about it that a few million unemployed must be just a minor hiccup. The mathematical ecologist Robert May voiced similar sentiments in 1976. `Not only in research, but in the everyday world of politics and economics, we would all be better off if more people realised that simple systems do not necessarily possess simple dynamical properties.'" (25)

The problems of modern science could be overcome far more easily by adopting a conscious (as opposed to an unconscious, haphazard, empirical) dialectical method. It is clear that the general philosophical implications of chaos theory are disputed by its scientists. Gleick quotes Ford, "a self-proclaimed evangelist of chaos" as saying that chaos means "systems liberated to randomly explore their every dynamic possibility…" Others refer to apparently random systems. Perhaps the best definition comes from Jensen, a theoretical physicist at Yale, who defines "chaos" as "the irregular, unpredictable behaviour of deterministic, non-linear dynamical systems."

Rather than elevate randomness to a principle of nature, as Ford seems to do, the new science does the opposite: it shows irrefutably that processes that were considered to be random (and may still be so considered, for everyday purposes) are nevertheless driven by an underlying determinism-not the crude mechanical determinism of the 18th century but dialectical determinism.

Some of the claims being made for the new science are very grand, and with the refinement and development of methods and techniques, may well prove true. Some of its exponents go so far as to say that the 20th century will be known for three things: relativity, quantum mechanics and chaos. Albert Einstein, although one of the founders of quantum theory, was never reconciled to the idea of a non-deterministic universe. In a letter to the physicist Neils Bohr, he insisted that "God does not play dice." Chaos theory has not only shown Einstein to be correct on this point, but even in its infancy, it is a brilliant confirmation of the fundamental world view put forward by Marx and Engels over a hundred years ago.

It is really astonishing that so many of the advocates of chaos theory, who are attempting to break with the stultifying "linear" methodology and work out a new "non-linear" mathematics, which is more in consonance with the turbulent reality of ever-changing nature, appear to be completely unaware of the only genuine revolution in logic in two millennia-the dialectical logic elaborated by Hegel, and subsequently perfected on a scientific and materialist basis by Marx and Engels. How many errors, blind alleys and crises in science could have been avoided if scientists had been equipped with a methodology which genuinely reflects the dynamic reality of nature, instead of conflicting with it at every turn!
from Alex S., age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 11, 2000


I don't think that reverse engineering would work. We do not contain all the genes needed to make a chimpanzee: We only have 97%. We do not contain that 3% required to make a chimpanzee.

Therefore you would need to know the complete sequence of both the avian and dinosaur DNA to find the missing sequences.
from DW, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 11, 2000


Great, Alez, you are starting to annoy me with your complete plagaurism of my character. If you weren't so good in Chaos theory, I would have sued you.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 11, 2000


It's impossible to reverse engineer and then re-engineer the dinosaurs due to Chaos theory. Chaos theory grew out of attempts to make computer models of weather systems in the 1960s. Weather is a big complicated system, namely the earth's atmosphere when the land interacts with the sun. The behavior of this big complicated weather system has always defied understanding. So naturally we couldn't predict weather. And what early researchers discovered from computer models is that, even though you could understand it, you still couldn't predict it. Weather prediction is absolutely impossible. This is because the behavior of the system is sensitively dependent on initial conditions.

When was chaos first discovered? The first true experimenter in chaos was a meteorologist, named Edward Lorenz. In 1960, he was working on the problem of weather prediction. He had a computer set up, with a set of twelve equations to model the weather. It didn't predict the weather itself. however this computer program did theoretically predict what the weather might be.

One day in 1961, he wanted to see a particular sequence again. To save time, he started in the middle of the sequence, instead of the beginning. He entered the number off his printout and left to let it run. When he came back an hour later, the sequence had evolved differently. Instead of the same pattern as before, it diverged from the pattern, ending up wildly different from the original. Eventually he figured out what happened. The computer stored the numbers to six decimal places in its memory. To save paper, he only had it print out three decimal places. In the original sequence, the number was .506127, and he had only typed the first three digits, .506.

By all conventional ideas of the time, it should have worked. He should have gotten a sequence very close to the original sequence. A scientist considers himself lucky if he can get measurements with accuracy to three decimal places. Surely the fourth and fifth, impossible to measure using reasonable methods, can't have a huge effect on the outcome of the experiment. Lorenz proved this idea wrong. This effect came to be known as the butterfly effect. The amount of difference in the starting points of the two curves is so small that it is comparable to a butterfly flapping its wings.

The flapping of a single butterfly's wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month's time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn't happen. Or maybe one that wasn't going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)

This phenomenon, common to chaos theory, is also known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Just a small change in the initial conditions can drastically change the long-term behavior of a system. Such a small amount of difference in a measurement might be considered experimental noise, background noise, or an inaccuracy of the equipment. Such things are impossible to avoid in even the most isolated lab. With a starting number of 2, the final result can be entirely different from the same system with a starting value of 2.000001. It is simply impossible to achieve this level of accuracy - just try and measure something to the nearest millionth of an inch! From this idea, Lorenz stated that it is impossible to predict the weather accurately. However, this discovery led Lorenz on to other aspects of what eventually cam to be known as chaos theory.

Lorenz started to look for a simpler system that had sensitive dependence on initial conditions. His first discovery had twelve equations, and he wanted a much more simple version that still had this attribute. He took the equations for convection, and stripped them down, making them unrealistically simple. The system no longer had anything to do with the convection, but it did have sensitive dependence on its initial conditions, and there were only three equations this time. Later, it was discovered that his equations precisely described a water wheel.

At the top, water drips steadily into containers hanging on the wheel's rim. Each container drips steadily from a small hole. If the stream of water is slow, the top containers never fill fast enough to overcome friction, but if the stream is faster, the weight starts to turn the wheel. The rotation might become continuous. Or if the stream is so fast that the heavy containers swing all the way around the bottom and up the other side, the wheel might then slow, stop, and reverse its rotation, turning first one way and then the other. (James Gleick, Chaos - Making A New Science, pg. 29)
The equations for this system also seemed to give rise to entirely random behavior. However, when he graphed it, a surprising thing happened. The output always stayed on a curve, a double spiral. There were only two kinds of order previously known: a steady state, in which the variables never change, and periodic behavior, in which the system goes into a loop, repeating itself indefinitely. Lorenz's equations are definitely ordered - they always followed a spiral. They never settled down to a single point, but since they never repeated the same thing, they weren't periodic either. He called the image he got when he graphed the equations the Lorenz attractor. In 1963, Lorenz published a paper describing what he had discovered. He included the unpredictability of the weather, and discussed the types of equations that caused this type of behavior. Unfortunately, the only journal he was able to publish in was a meteorological journal, because he was a meteorologist, not a mathemat! ician or a physicist. As a result, Lorenz's discoveries weren't acknowledged until years later, when they were rediscovered by others. Lorenz had discovered something revolutionary; now he had to wait for someone to discover him.

Chaotic Systems are not random. They may appear to be. They have some simple defining features:

1. Chaotic systems are deterministic. This means they have something determining their behavior.

2. Chaotic systems are very sensitive are very sensitive to the initial conditions. A very slight change in the starting point can lead to enormously different outcomes. This makes the system fairly unpredictable.

3. Chaotic systems appear to be disorderly, even random. But they are not. Beneath the random behavior is a sense of order and pattern. Truly random systems are not chaotic. The orderly systems predicted by classical physics are the exceptions. In this world of order, chaos rules!

Okay, let's say we fire a shell from a gun, and mark the spot at which the shell lands. Now, if we duplicate the conditions of the initial shot and fire a second shell, what will happen?

Well, the round will land in almost exactly the same spot.

Now, if you have a weather system and start it up at a certain humidity, a certain temperature and a certain wind speed- and if I repeat the experiment with almost the same conditions, the second system will wander off and become very different from the initial results the first system came up with. Thunderstorms instead of sunshine, that's nonlinear dynamics, they are sensitively dependent on initial conditions, small differences become amplified.

The shorthand is the butterfly effect. A butterfly flaps its wings in Peking and the weather in New York is different.

If you ask me, your process of re-enginering the dinosaurs is tatamount to taking a weather system and trying to re-engineer its final result to that of a similar system. This is impossible.
from Alex S., age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 11, 2000


Actually, the real T.rex was never cloned in my story as they used bits of avain DNA to fill the gaps in the genome. Therefore, the DNA strand is not 100percent orginal.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 11, 2000


Evolution is dependent on Chaos as its a dynamic, nonlinear system. We all know we cannot duplicate the results in a dynamic, nonlinear system. Therefore, if you are trying to reverse the evolutionary process, you'll never get what you are looking for. It's like trying to reverse the weather, both are impossible.
from Alex S., age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 11, 2000


I don't think that dinosaurs are gone forever. Even with the "Jurassic Park" cloning method, the dinosaurs we see aren't the EXACT species that they claim to be. What are species except stages of evolution? When does one animal start to be another species that evolved from a different one? The T. rex in Jurassic Park isn't the exact animal that we call "T. rex," it may be earlier or later than that animal in evolution, but it is close. You touched on a similar concept in Old Blood (you used the Loh's Method of extracting DNA for that story, didn't you?). These questions are very ambiguous. But the avian genome may hold the key to part of it. Given, the understanding of the genome itself in modern day animals is very bad, but once we can understand what it can do and how it "morphs" itself through evolution, maybe we could "trace" it back through to the roots of birds, maybe farther (this is probably just wishful thinking, but I had some genet! ic experts talk me through it once on DML...).
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 11, 2000


I can come up with big problems of evolution. It dosen't show that evolution dosent work, it simply shows we do not understand enough about it. Anyway it's long known that emperical science is long dead, and if you are an atheist, you now have nothing to believe in.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


I'm afraid we cannot bring the dinosaurs back 100 percent as we will always be uncertain of the entire genome. But I kinda found a fictional way around in in Old Blood, read about it. About provability, it's impossible to prove anything absolutely if you know anything about Chaos theory. It's also impossible to observe something without changing it, so it's impossible to get the entire genome back 100 percent. Tyrannosaurus rex is gone forever, all we can do now is to make a pretty realistic clone of him.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


Billy, what you said was making me think...
I knew the "reversal of evolution plan" might not work because of evolutionary branches not intertwining with the Avialae, but I thought it could be reached through "synthetic evolution." But I'm not so sure...someone on DML gave me the basis for this explanation (I don't remember who, look on the archives "cloning dinosaurs") but it doesn't make sense anymore. Evolution is stimulated by conditions that aren't able to be reproduced in a lab, but if we knew enough about it it might be able to be reproduced...I don't know. Are there any other clever ways of cloning dinosaurs we haven't thought of yet? Adequate amounts of "clonable" DNA can't be reached through bones or insects in amber, at least with today's cloning procedures.

from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


I don't think there is a way to prove evolution, or it's no more provable than creationist theory anyways. If you really think about it you can come up with some big problems with the theory of evolution as we think about it today. Not to say I don't believe in evolution, but I kinda just think that it doesn't really matter...we'll never know for sure and all we can do is theorize, so who cares???
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


True, Billy, you could only go one direction with retro-engineering avian DNA. The whole of the Ornithischia would be left out...unless you could somehow follow evolution back through all of the branches...(I.E.: engineer a bird all the way to a proto-dinosaur, then back through all of the branches of the Ornithischia and Saurischia, and Pterosauria too I guess...). I don't know if that could be reproduced in a lab, it depends what kind of things happen to genes during evolution. It could be possible to use "synthetic" evolution to create evolutionary dead-ends in the Dinosauria.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


Reuben: We just recently isolated the human genome, dinosaur genomes would be much harder to find. It's not just a part of our basic knowledge about dinosaurs, you know...we can't just pull a DNA gene sequence out of a hat and call it a "Compsognathus genome." The only way to find it is to isolate DNA from fossils (like Jurassic Park and Old Blood) or retro-engineer it from bird genomes.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


We now know cloning a dinosaur from fossilized DNA is just not possible. However, recent study shows bringing back the dinosaurs does not prove 100% impossible. If it is true that dinosaurs are that closely related to birds, messing with the genes of a closeley related bird could create a dinosaur.
from Carchardontosaur, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


BBD made me question something. Could a T.Rex really beat a Giagantosaurus? To me the answer is yes. This may not be correct, but I'm pretty sure it is correct. T.Rex was smarter because his brain was larger and wider. His arms were longer. Giagantosaurus's teeth were used for slicing, while T.Rex's teeth were used for crushing. I think the crushing action worked in T.Rex's favor. But most imported we will never now because they were devided by a sea. Could T.Rex really beat a Giagantosaurus? We may never know.
from firebird, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


Actualy, Carchardontosaur, their is a way to prove evolution. This summer, I went to the Museum of Science It's Alive and went to this fossil presentation and learned that if you left a bacteria in a can for 15 minutes it would mutiplie and if spayed a chemical that gets rid of the original bacteria species one would stay and if the first bacteria was the only one in it originaly it would have to be a multiple of the original and if it stayed it would have to be another type so it evolved and if some living things evolved and some came out of nowhere (aside from the first life) it would not make any sense so evolution can be proved.
from Reuben B., age 7, Needham, MA, USA; December 10, 2000


My, I am really posting alot today. Anyway, I'm not too sure if the reverse thing you do with avian DNA will work as it will bring you back to the dino the birds came from(if they came from dinos), which is probally some small jurassic dinosaur. No raptors or T.rex here, they are evolutionary dead ends.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


..I beg your pardon? Evolution is a proven theory. At least it wasn't proven in a definate way as it cannot be sufficently observied, but modern genetics, selective breeding, observing hybridised animals and looking at the (imcomplete) fossil record tends to lean heavily towards the theory of evolution. My prediction is, evolution probally happens, but some of our ideas about it are certainly wrong. If I were a creationist, I would stop attacking the evolutionary process,( which is too strongly supported by the fossil record and such) and start attacking the orgin of life. In this area, science is more that of fashion. Thoeries come and go faster than you can respond. There are just too many things supporting the theory of evolution to ignore. I guess it can be classified as a uncertain truth, where we know it certainly happens, but are unable to know everything about it.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


I don't think its a good thing to believe everything Bakker says. In fact, most of his theories and statements are probally wrong. He's a good pubic relations guy, but I seriously suspect he lacks in paleontological restraint. It's sad that most of the content in "Raptor Red" and "The Dinosaur Heresies" are well, heresies.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


Well, if dinosaur genomes are equaly complex, then I just want to know the genome of any dinosaur that is herbivorous, omnivorous, or smaller then me (carnivores bigger then me might be too dangerous). This is my plan for bringing them back to life.

You press a button on this machine and it will turn some gears that will lift up a rod with a robotic arm at the end. The arm will gently lift some bird and drop it in a computer. The computer will record info on the bird and scan it. Then the arm will take the bird out. I go to the file cotaining the info and look at the bird genome. I'll compare that to the dinosaur genome and find the diferances. Then I go to the museum and buy the dinosaur tisue that contains the diferant DNA and put it in the bird. As things change, I tell the computer the changes and the age of the bird and the computer will tell me how close it is to being a dinosaur.

JC, do you know the intire dinosaur genome?
from Reuben B., age 7, Needham, MA, USA; December 10, 2000


I don't think its a good thing to believe everything Bakker says. In fact, most of his theories and statements are probally wrong. He's a good pubic relations guy, but I seriously suspect he lacks in paleontological restraint. It's sad that most of the content in "Raptor Red" and "The Dinosaur Heresies" are well, heresies.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


Charcaradontosaurus, evolution may be a popular theory, but I think it can be proven. Unfortunaltey, it will take millions of years. Anyway, I think we have made some improvements in understanding the mechanisms in evolution based on the fossil record read John Horner's book Dinosaur Lives but skip the chapter dissing T-Rex. Everything else is rather insightful. I was going to state some of his points but it's late and I'm tired. We'll discuss this some other time, then?
Looking forward to it,

from DW, age 14, Singapore!, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


Actually, I don't see any problems with doing that. What we must understand is that due to Chaos theory (read Old Blood), we can never bring back the dinosaurs 100 percent. We are simple retouching a old photograph. The dinosaur will neve be complete. Say what, why do we put paleo-DNA into select parts of avian DNA and make a totally new dinosaur species. Emusaurus Rex!
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; December 10, 2000


Reuben: If you still want to know what the smallest dinosaur is, it is _Microraptor_. It was less than 1 foot long (I think) and had "fur" all over it. It is from China I believe and just named this week.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 9, 2000


Reuben: Your idea is good, but weak in some spots. Compsognathus is not the smallest dinosaur, but even if it was it wouldn't have the least complex genome. All dinosaurs (and most vertebrates for that matter) have extremely complex genomes that were about equally complex as well. I am currently working on a story where dinosaurs are cloned by reverse manipulation of avian genomes, since we can locate those through present DNA, then "reverse" the evolutionary process into dinosaurs.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 9, 2000


Don't trust anything Crichton says about Mussaurus in his book TLW. The skeleton of Mussaurus that was found was a juvenile. Adults got up to 10 feet long.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 9, 2000


Rueben: Most likely an adult mussaurus was larger than a compsognathus. I don't know the entire genome.
from Carchardontosaur, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 9, 2000


Does anyone no the complete geneome off Comsognathus? That could be knolege usefull when I make a machine that will bring dinosaurs back to life. The reason I chose Compsognathus to bring back to life first is because even though it is not my faveorite, it is the smallest one I know alot about (Mussaurus was posibly smaller but I don't know much about that dinosaur) so it might have the simplest geneome.

P.S. the next kid who reads this should answer my question and if not JC.
from Reuben B., age 7, Needham, MA, USA; December 9, 2000


Some information I find interesting(These are all facts as far as palentologists know):
-As far as most cases go, the sauropods that held their necks close to the ground had more elongated heads, wile the ones that held their heads high above the ground had more boxy heads.
-Evoloution is nothing more than a popular theory. There is no way to prove it.
-During the famous "Bone Wars" of Marsh and Cope, a duckbill skeleton was discovered because a shepard had built a hut out of the enormous bones.
-The plates on gastonia's tail could have been used to pinch off, even severing the fingers of predators.
-Tyrannosaurus most likely used it's hands for two things; Grabbing and carrying large amounts of meat, or perhaps in mating.

from Carchardontosaur, age ?, ?, ?, ?; December 8, 2000


Hi Everybody! I'm new here but I think this is a really cool site. I have been very interested in dinosaurs for my whole life. I might be posting a lot on here. My favorite dinosaur is Utahraptor. My favorite book is "Raptor Red" by Robert Bakker. If you like Dinosaurs, you should read this book. So, would someone inform me on latest debate? I'm glad to be here. :)
from Utahraptor Commander, age 12, ?, ?, U.S.A.; December 8, 2000


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