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Dino Science Forum: Scientific Discussion of Dinosaurs - Jan. 2001

This forum is for the scientific discussion of dinosaurs and other related paleontological topics.
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All thanks to somebody called "Madhatter", really, he's probally somewhere else dissing people off. That person really has a social relation problem, he must be number one, or he'll kill (or belittle you) to do so.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 26, 2001


I must say, this page is a little underused.
from Josh, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 26, 2001


Can anybody tell me what we are talking about?
from J.S., age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 21, 2001


Rodolfo Coria, another expert that has me all boggled.

Well, I was looking up a few old articles in a magazine when I read a statement by this guy that has me all boggled. He says that the eyes of Giganotosaurus were "looking at you like an eagle" while that of T.Rex was on the side. Erm, why hasn't anybody corrected him yet? It's supposed to be the other way round.
from Josh, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 17, 2001


Hmm, are you refering to the "imperator" sized specimens? Well, unfortunately, it is going to take some time before the critter is out of the matrix, not to mention some idiots, not experts dug it up with a backhoe.

Also, I am not sure it's a good idea to name it a totally new animal based on its size, as of yet, there has been nothing to suggest that Rigby's tyrannosaur is more than a normal, if somewhat large T.Rex.

I heard news about Rigby's rex having bigger forelimbs, but that has been dismissed.

Also, there is at yet no evidence put forth to suggest this is anything
other than Tyrannosaurus rex. Please refrain from spreading the rumor this
is a new species.

(I warned people this would happen, didn't I...)
from Josh, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 17, 2001


This just came in, latest estimates of Tyrannosaurus Rex biting abitlites just rose another notch higher. Instead of the previous 12,000 newtons in an attack bite, the best estimates now put it at 15,000 newtons in the bigger specimens. Thank you.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 16, 2001


Gee honkietong, just stop trying to belittle me and tell me where you got your info from. Not Levine or anyone else, just you. Where did you get yours?
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 15, 2001


I'm not saying we should calculate the intelligence of the dinosaurs to an exact figure, but we can cross out possibilities to get a rough picture. And so far, it dosen't point towards them being very smart.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 15, 2001


Natural selection is not the only process in evolution, evolution is anything but a ramdom process. If you ask me, evolution seems controled in the submodular level, but apparently ramdom in the general sense, I wonder what's the reason behind it? Hox control genes
? They only affect a segment of your body.

from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 15, 2001


I agree, unfortunately, we try to make too many assumptions from the bones, which are only snapshots in time.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 15, 2001


I think I am being misunderstood. I never said dinosaurs were super intelligent or something, I just said WE can't ever know for sure. What is intelligence anyways? Nothing can really measure it properly, for some brains are suited for some things more than others. Basically I'm saying that 'intelligence' really means nothing.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 15, 2001


Natural selection can't be the only aspect of evolution, it doesn't make sense.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 15, 2001


Why does brain power increase with time? I find this puzzling. Mesozoic animals had more developed brains than Palaeozoic animals, Cenozoic creatures had more developed brains than Mesozoic animals, etc,etc. Is this natural selection at work? We know that there are major problems with natural selection. Or is there something else at work? Something we do not completely understand. If so, What?
from DW, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 15, 2001


Actually Honkie got me bang on the nail. I'm saying if you have a dino brain the same size as that of a compairable mammalian brain, the dino would be less intelligent. If anything, dinosaurs seem to have "less" efficent brains. I don't really expect a Stegosaurus with the intelligence of a cow, really, more likely a turtle or a tortise.

How large does a brain have to be? Although we usually feel that as a body gets larger the brain must also expand, we really have no definite basis for that assumption. A brain has a lot of functions, but many of them involve automatic behavior. An order to breathe or a signal to release a hormone can be performed by a small number of nerve cells and yet have a major effect on a distant organ as a large muscle unit reacts or a distant gland releases large supply of an active substance. An order for a leg to walk can require the same number of brain cells in a large animal as in a small one, it's just that larger muscles are following the orders. Delicacy of movement and fine motor coordination certainly benefit from more neurons, but when the beast being controlled weighs forty tons or more, does delicacy really matter? At that size, an animal makes its own path rather than worrying about staying on a trail. Many functions, such as finding food and mates can be hard-wired into fairly small units of nerve tissue and still leave some room for variability in their expression. Tiny lizards and fish, and even insects, can show relatively complex behavior with brains the size of a pinhead. Great intellectual function was almost certainly lacking in Dinosaurs as it is in practically every creature known, but that is not really a disadvantage for survival in most cases. But the bottom line is, the Dinosaurs were quite intelligent for their size, but not as intelligent as you make them out to be.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


I don't see the fuss being put into the conversation of animal species. I mean, extinction dealt by another better, more advanced design is common throughout history, why should we do any different? In fact, it seems when we conserve certain species, we are harming others. We are literally slowing down natural selection, and doing what we see fit instead of allowing "natural" laws to work. Kill all the animals! Only those that survive deserve to survive. Greenpeace? Bah! If they knew what was good and natural for the earth, they would allow us to exploit and damage it.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


It dosen't really matter if the birds were direct decendents of the dinosaurs. If you ask me, they're probally very similar, so similar that even if they are not cadustically linked, we can call them the "new dinosaurs."
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


That picture at http://dinosauricon.com/images/tyrannosaurus_chase-jc2.html, is a great insult to a great predator. It looked like the artist made a serioous mistake and decided to cover it up with a turf of four feet tall graphite fuzz.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001

I hardly think rexy was "fluffy" Skin impressions seem to point in the other way. Besides, given rexy's impressive size causing heat dissapation to be more of a problem than retention, and the idea that he may be warm blooded, and the idea that his climate was warmer than ours, I get the impresion that the paleoartist didn't put too much thought into the whole picture. Prehaps I tend to agree with Bill's idea, that T.Rex was downy of feathery when young, but lost it's insulation as it grew up.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Actually, the structure of the brain affects the intelligence of the animal largely. Simple brains tend to show lower intelligence than complex brains. What we do see from dinosaur brains is that they do have relatively uncomplex neurostructures as when compaired to modern birds and mammals. My guess is, most of their behaviour was wired in and instinctive and in short, they didn't think that much.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Hmm... I was thinking if some of the dinosaurs were warm blooded, and if they were above a certain size, they didn't really need the insulation to keep them alive on a cold night.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Jon, you are saying that if dinosaurs were 'feathered' then they would have feathers similar to birds'? That wouldn't be correct; in fact most impressions show otherwise, even to dinosaurs very close to birds in lineage. Their feathers were similar to fur, and used only for insulation. Most people think 'feathered' means like present day flying birds. Just look at flightless birds, their feathers are returning into a more fur-like state than feathers that are used for flight and insulation: they don't need the complex flight feathers anymore, and dinosaurs had even more fur-like feathers.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Honkie, where are you getting your information that "most soft tissue fossils show that dinosaurs tended to be unfeathered"? Actually, almost all of the small dinosaurian soft tissue samples show that they did have some sort of feathers (it was actually more like finely branched, very soft fuzz). Basically, if any small dinosaurs are known to have soft tissue impressions, they usually had feathery integument (fur/feathers). _Pelecanimimus_ is the only exception that comes to mind, but it doesn't mean much since only the throat region of skin impressions were discovered and the rest of its body likely was covered in "dino-fuzz."
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Reuben, _Protoavis_ is not a bird or proto-bird or anything closely related to birds. Paul (I think) says that it is a chimaera (mix of remains) between some sort of pterosaur and a herrerasaurian. Given, even in the Triassic herrerasaurians were quite bird-like, but still, not in the immediate vicinity of bird ancestry. I think it was Chatterjee that used _Protoavis_ as an argument that dinosaurs were not evolutionary precursors to birds, but he was wrong I guess, and made too many assumptions.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Jon, you can't use EQ to determine intelligence, really. Even if you did dinosaurs would be smarter than reptiles anyways, most had EQs the same as large ground birds like emus and ostriches. But EQ is just silly, it doesn't work. If that was the one determining factor for intelligence, then squirrels and elephant-nosed fish would be smarter than people (they have higher EQs).
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Dinosaurs with Feathers-

Basal Deinonychosauria (Archaeopteryx,Microraptor, Sinornithosaurus)
Basal Maniraptora (Protachaeopteryx)
Basal Ornithoraptosauria (Caudipteryx)
Basal Therizinosauria (Beipiaosaurus)
Compsognathidae (Sinosauropteryx)

We don't see many highly derived animals here. It's possible that Deinonychus was secondarily featherless (it was secondarily flightless, if Archaeopteryx was its ancestor), but there are no non-feathered skin fossils for any of these groups. Are you referring to Scipionyx when you say "fossils showing soft tissue seem to suggest that dinosaurs tend towards being unfeathered"? Well, that one is a problem.

There are no ornithomimosaur, troodontid, or tyrannosaur (the Arctometatarsalia to some, an artificial group to others) feathers-- so feathering these groups is currently just speculation. Just for fun, here's a link to a very fluffy rex (or is that grass?):

http://dinosauricon.com/images/tyrannosaurus_chase-jc2.html
from Brad, age 14, Woodville, ON, Canada; January 14, 2001


Say Chandeler, I have been doing some study into non-avain dinosaurian neurology and I'm afraid that I have concluded that Stegosaurus was probally not as smart as a cow. Or at the very least, the dinosaurs did not have small brains beause os balance. Besides, adding a kilo to the brain is a big difference, why not do that? It won't cause you to tip over. But whatever it is, the dinosaurs were probally as smart as the reptiles today.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


Downy Dinosaurs?? They may have been fairly closely related to birds and a lot of experts now say they were birds. Even if that is true, by the mid-Jurassic they were probably 50,000,000 years apart. That's enough time to develop some pretty prominent differences in covering. Some feather-like structures have been found on some small theropods, but a lot of them are more fibrous than feathery and actually subcutaneous in location. So, were Dinosaurs totally covered with feathers? There is no real evidence in the fossil record for this, so why the rush to feather covered pictures and sculptures in the name of scientific accuracy? Birds need aerodynamic feathers for flight and fluffy feathers for heat retention. Dinosaurs were too big to fly and at their size heat dissipation would have been a greater concern. Looking at recent sculptures and paintings I have seen raptors with punk crests and a lot of Dromaeosaurs with fully feathered "wings "; for what purpose? It takes a lot of energy to make feathers. These animals were not structurally adapted for flight, so why waste hard-to-get protein on frivolous plumage? I see others covered with the hairy feathers typical of modern ratites. If they had to have feathers, I suppose that is how they would have looked, being ground dwellers. They didn't have featherless bird beaks, but all the feathered depictions I have seen look like bald-faced vultures. Why doesn't the face ever get feathered? Why is it that most of these look as if they were conceived by Dr. Suess?
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


I'm not sure if we should make a big fuss of it, the line between birds and dinosaurs is a blurred one. Archaeopteryx may have been a dinosaurian dromie, or it may have been a bird with dromie charaterstics.

I wouldn't put feathers to coelurosaurs as quickly as you do Brad, I prefer to wait for solid evidence first. My feeling is, feathers might not have mattered a lot to the coelurosaurs. Besides, fossils showing soft tissue seem to suggest that dinosaurs tend towards being unfeathered.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 14, 2001


I'm not sure that birds were around before dinosaurs, Reuben. Your first point was that Archaeopteryx is older than the most bird-like dinosaurs. This stems from a century and a half of calling Archaeopteryx the first bird. Archaeopteryx is essentially a small dromaeosaur- here's a link to the article:

http://www.dinosauria.com/jdp/archie/dromey.htm

Dromaeosaurs and Aves may both have their origin near Archaeoptryx, the more familiar dromaeosaurs being secornadrily flightless. All coelurosaurs in the Jurassic were probably feathery. As for Protoavis, I don't know what it is, but its a bit younger than the first dinosaurs (its about as old as Coelophysis, I think).
from Brad, age 14, Woodville, ON, Canada; January 13, 2001


JC, you do have a point. But at least real science is better than some debates in the history of dino talk (and defanatly the "my dinosaur is better than your's" debate). Some of them might have seen the original idea was "dinosaur debate". For the kids, I've discovered that birds are older than dinosaurs! All the dinosaurs Archiopterix probaly evolved from apeared after it did. So it probaly evolved from some protoavian form. Then maby Protoavis was a bird. So where did it come from? Most likely the ancestoral reptile. So birds would be older than dinosaurs. The explanation of the dinosaurs it probaly evolved from is they are not dinpsaurs but birds.
from Reuben B., age 7, Needham, MA, USA; January 13, 2001


I really wasn't saying that it was a T. rex v raptors debate, I was saying its really dumb and pointless to check this board every time I come online to find it riddled with the same exact arguments by whoever and whoever else over and over and over. I agree with JC that if it doesn't improve the section should be cancelled, there's no point anymore if there isn't any new discussion! Move on, people!
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 12, 2001


MadHatter, I must start out with an apology, a piece of information I posted about a topic you brought up is wrong. I regret this wrong piece of information I gave you...

You said:
"May I also add, the whole theory about T.Rex and his "nasty bite" is all in speculation too, so you cant rear that one up about how deadly T.rex is anymore. "
"Haha. Honkie, when you dont wanna answer something, boy do you change the subject, Im talking about the speculative "yuck mouth", or septic bite if you will. notice the words "nasty"."

And I answered:

"Oh, that's what you mean. Yes, there's no way to really prove it yet. So any theory on the septic bite remains as speculation, and I accept it as such. But recently, Larson is studying some Edmontosaurus headled Tyrannosaur bites and has said he has noticed some bone deformation, which may indicate a massive infection resulting from the bite. This is good, but this is still equivocal evidence. I'll look for better ones."

It turns out I was dead wrong...THERE IS ACTUALLY CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE FOR T.REX HAVING A SEPTIC BITE! IT'S NOT SPECULATION! HAHAHAHHA!

I just found this...

Many attempts have been made to answer the question of whether tyrannosaurs were active predators -- seeking out and killing their prey or were scavengers, waiting for the opportune moment to step in and satisfy their hunger. Joining this debate, researcher William Abler and his colleagues have literally looked inside this amazing dinosaur's mouth for clues and come up with some surprising results.

The enormous teeth of the tyrannosaur would seem like the perfect killing tool with sharp points and serrations on both the front and back edges. But when put to an actual test of bone crushing and flesh tearing, would they live up to this perfect image?

Abler and his associates wondered about the serrations seen on the teeth, and whether they would serve the same purpose as those on common kitchen knives. Since no studies had been done regarding knife edges, Abler set up an experiment with serrated blades and tyrannosaur tooth edges.

By creating a series of standardized knife edges, including a serrated edge, the scientists were able to study cuts or tears on actual pieces of meat and simulate biting experiences similar to those that might have been demonstrated by the dinosaur.

The blades were "mounted on a butcher's saw operated by cords and pulleys" that created a sawing action on several same-sized pieces of meat. While the straight edge split the meat, a serrated knife edge "gripped and ripped" it.

A serrated fossil tooth of the ancient shark Carcharodon megalodon produced similar results. When a tyrannosaur tooth was placed in the mechanism, it produced cuts similar to those made by a smooth knife blade that was in need of sharpening. Questioning these results, Abler wondered: if the menacing tooth edges were not sharp, what were they for?

When comparing the serrations of the tyrannosaur tooth with those of the ancient shark, Abler saw major differences in the shape of the points and in the spaces between the points, or cella. The shark's tooth had pyramidal-shaped points. while those of tyrannosaurs were cube-like.

Putting the teeth of Albertosaurus to the meat test, the scientists discovered food particles and grease trapped in the cella. According to Abler, when such particles remain in the mouth they become the sites for septic bacteria which can result in fatal bites to victims.
This indicated that tyrannosaurs might have been able to merely bite their victims and sit back and wait for them to succumb to the fatal infection.

A "puncture and pull" method of biting seemed most apparent to Abler, where the dinosaur's teeth acted as pegs that more or less held the victim. Also, due to the non-articulating surface of the teeth, he hypothesized that tyrannosaurs did not chew their food but swallowed it whole.

Abler cites a study of the Indonesian Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), whose teeth are similar in shape to those of tyrannosaurs. Ciofi's study has led the paleontologist James O. Farlow to suggest a positive comparison between the two animals. Since the Komodo dragon sometimes hunts by biting its prey and then waiting for it to die through an infection of the wound, why wouldn't this be possible in tyrannosaurs?

[People bitten by a Komodo dragon more frequently die from sepsis than from the damage inflicted by the wound itself. -- Ed]

Abler adds that with tightly closed lips, tyrannosaur teeth may have pierced their own gums, which would then have bled and nourished the septic dental bacteria. This would have provided perfect conditions for poisoning future prey.

It looks like I was wrong when I said that the theory was based on speculation, there are studies and conclusive real-time evidence coming out too. But wait a minute, didn't you say at first...

"May I also add, the whole theory about T.Rex and his "nasty bite" is all in speculation too, so you cant rear that one up about how deadly T.rex is anymore. "

Woops, did I just prove you wrong? I didn't mean it, honest! But wouldn't it mean you were WRONGER than me for suggesting it's ALL in speculation and that we can rear it up? Hmm ...... ................... ............ .................... ............................... .................. ................... .............................. ................
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 12, 2001


Open your eyes and see! Let me qoute some biologists I mentioned.

Tale offical statement:

"The interpretive conclusions presented in these Technical Reports are based only on the results of these popular paleontological rationalization. Extrapolation of these results to other species and quantitative risk analyses for dromaeosaurids behaviour require wider analyses beyond the purview of these studies. As of now, a quantity of popular speculations about dromaeosaurid behaviour remainly wrongly accepted as fact." (He was refering to somebody who answered the raptors MUST have taken on big prey)

Matt Wedel says this:

"Indisputable evidence does not exist for big prey or pack hunting in dromaeosaurids. It is highly unlikely that the dromaeosaurids commonly took on large animals. Morphological and postural evidence, bone histology, ecological information, and brain/body size relationships indicate that we cannot make sweeping generalizations about dromaeosaurid behaviour. Most likely it varied between groups, but big animals were probally a rare, if energy-abundant source of food in a dromaeosaurid's diet."

Frank Galef says this:

"To be honest, I like the way the way most paleontologists today envision the past. Most of the popular ideas of raptors showcase a set of banana sized slicers and dicers which they "MUST" have used on big prey. I am just calling for caution in trying to keep up with the latest speculation in the field. In another fifty years we may look back on this era of raptordom with the same bemused countenance we now apply to the creatures of Hawkins' Crystal Palace."

He also goes on to say:

"Based the conclusions I draw from the raptors via the application of my knowledge of biology and zoology, I start to wonder if the experts who stated that the raptors were "obviously" big prey killers have really put much research into the raptors at all. I'm not sure whether they are saying this because it makes their favorite Dinosaurs look fiercer or if they really have any scientific basis for their claims. It's unlikely that a lot of fossilized trace fossils will ever be found to prove this contention one way or the other, but I don't think it makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary standpoint or even from the fossil evidence that does exist."

I like this one. I've been looking around in my older sister's textbooks and found what that seems to be in direct attack towards the expert MadHatter quoted:

" As for the prey size in relation to the predator, this probally vaired with the different species of predator. However, a limit to this variation can be observed."

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr, a paleontologist:

"forget ever reference you've seen to Velociraptor and Deinonychus as being "swift" or "deadily" as dinosaurs go. Even Tyrannosaurus rex has proportionately longer lower legs and feet than do these smaller forms"

I also like this one:

"Most large theropods (allosauroids, megalosauroids, Dryptosaurus, etc.), match some variation on the grapple-and-bite theme. The hand claws of these animals closely match the proportions and angles of predatory birds, and are at the end of short but powerful arms. Like predatory birds, these claws were probably not the primary weapons of killing, but were used to seize and hold the prey while the jaws did the work. Note that it is these animals, and NOT dromaeosaurids, which match modern "raptors" the best."

Forster, C, paleontologist:

"Based on careful scientific study, I feel that any assumptions that the dromaeosaurids hunted in packs is premature and shaky. It's unikely for dromaeosaurids to attack big animals, maybe it's time to look at alternative arguments?"

MadHatter (edited, just had to do it:-):

"you scientists assuming big prey hunting are not real scientists 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 raptor 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."

Duncan Watt:

"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. "

>From the WWD Bloopers:

"Like in Jurassic Park, Walking With Dinosaurs envisioned a bunch of mean lean Utahraptors. But does this make sense? Having Utahraptors taking on Iguanadon is a exciting idea, but seriously, no animals, save for humans and social insects would have put their lives in extreme peril to seucre a meal. The makers of WWD put this down as a "speculative portrayal of raptor life" and that's what the big prey theory is, speculation."

A few other small quotes from the experts:

" I think a lot of our ideas on the raptors are ludicrous"

" For the dromaeosaurids to take down animals many times their size, they will have to defy logic."

" I for one think we have made too many assumptions about the raptors."

" Hunting in packs and bringing down large animals is an exciting idea, but it's a weak one. I have thought up of amny other more likely seneriaos to paint..."

" It's sad that once a myth is planted, it's hard to up uproot."

" Assumption is not fact."

" A sore loser tries to play and put down the winner, a gentleman keeps his silence."

" If you don't admit your mistakes, you'll never learn."

" Woe to those who don't know the past, for they are condemmed to repeat it."

" As of yet, there is no good evidence to suggest complex carnivory behaviour in the dromaeosaurids."

" Having the "raptors" to pack hunt is absurd from basic principles of evolutionary biology. The only animals which attack much larger prey like ants regardless of losses sustained are eusocial insects like ants. They do it because the colony, not the sterile worker individual, is the passer on of genes and the unit on which natural selection acts. If the colony loses 0.2 grams of worker to get 20 grams of prey it may make a net gain in colony fitness justifying that (and ants, such as army ants, that do regularly swarm over much larger prey tend to have queens that produce vast numbers of eggs to replace squashed workers quickly!) But a non-social vertebrate that regularly gets itself killed so that even related individuals will get more food will kill off the genes for such suicidal altruism with itself. Only if the rest of the pack are very closely related would such behaviour occur. That would only happen if coelurosaurs, like naked mole-rats, were as eusocial as ants, com! plete with queen and sterile workers. Mole rats evolved this because of their very odd lifestyle (in fact evolutionary biologists predicted the naked mole-rat's social structure form its life-style before either was discovered in the field!). Coelurosaurs almost certainly were not eusocial and therefore could not in principle have evolved the behaviour many excited experts depicts.Our visions of superkiller raptors are as ridiculous as depicting flocks of homicidal hens rampaging the modern Bucks countryside, swarming over hapless sheep and pecking them to death!" (An expert calling himself by the net name of "Magpie")
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 12, 2001


Darn, I kinda hope at least my last few posts got through, I have to defend myself you know. But what the heck.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 11, 2001


Chandeler, this is not a T.Rex vs raptor debate, we're simply trying to prove the raptors were not as deadily as before.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 11, 2001


Hi guys, I'm back! What's going on here? If you want to fight, you can take it to Dino Talk, not Dino Science. We talk science here, not how pathetic or goofy somebody is here. Come on guys, you're in violation of good scientific behaviour here.... Can we get back to the science?

One more thing, science is about discovery, not quoting experts, doctors or paleontologists, stop using them as a weapon to degrade your opponent's points.
from Joseph, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 11, 2001


Hmm, I donno Brad. My father, a Zoologist tells me that the science of wounding required more than bite force, it also requires an admirable array of oral hardware followed up by the locomotive systems that is supposed to deliver all this to the target. But taking your human question into question, I think that's a as you said, silly acessment of human abilities. Given our lously incisors and the fact that we, attacking as a pack would be spreading the damage all over his body, would stand hardly a chance of bringing him down in short order, let alone penetrate his hide. Not to mention T.Rex could run three times faster than the adverage human. Not that I say we can chase him away, but he'll make short work of us.
from Josh, age 12, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Well, I don't think you should lamblast Josh for that. He does have a point you know. As for Honkie...well, he's your opponent right?

Anyway, since there has been some confusion over what "evidence" means, I'll classifiy them into three main groups. There are also many other forms of evidence, but the misidentification of these three are mainly responsible for most of our dinosaur misconceptions.

1. Equivocal evidence

Well, most of the evidence in paleontology comes in this form, mainly because we try to deduce behaviour from them. Equivocal evidence can help give you vauge headings on how to form your hypotheses, but never supports it nor rejects it. An example is trying to use unhealed bite marks on fossils to determine if the animal who made these marks was a predator or a scavenger. Sadly, some hypotheses drawn from equivocal evidence is treated as fact, which is not the way its supposed to be done.

2. Good Evidence

Good evidence helps to point you in one direction, or helps build up your case, but is not good enough to conclude your case by. An example is by finding a skull of an animal with extremely sharp, serrated teeth. Now, that animal could BE a herbivore, but good evidence points strongly towards it being a carnivore.

3. Conclusive evidence

Truly rare if you don't know where to look. Conclusive evidence can make, or break your case. The entire fate of certain theories can simply rest on one piece of conclusive evidence. For example, we are now conclusively sure T.Rex was at least predator for we have found evidence of healed over attacks on herbivores indicating failed attacks. Coupled with finds of acid-etched herbivore bones in the T.Rex fossils, all this is conclusive evidence that T.Rex was at the very least, a predator.

Now MadHatter, from a non-moral, scientific point of view, your opponents seem to be aware of the trap of overquoting equivocal evidence and have decided to use good and conclusive evidence to blast you instead. Though I wince at their ruthlessness, I am impressed by their handeling of the slippery tool in paleontology we call evidence. In a court of law, their case would be ruled a better one, just to tell you. Instead of screaming at them, which I doubt will work as they're used to it from months of Mr.Rogers and BBD, try fighting fire with fire. I'll help tell you if that piece of evidence you presented was equivocal, good or conclusive. Nobody is going to take pity on you, even though you are being pack-hunted if you have a weak case. Quick, do it!
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


You astound me with your calculations. Are you joking?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Oh, that's what you mean. Yes, there's no way to really prove it yet. So any theory on the septic bite remains as speculation, and I accept it as such. But recently, Larson is studying some Edmontosaurus headled Tyrannosaur bites and has said he has noticed some bone deformation, which may indicate a massive infection resulting from the bite. This is good, but this is still equivocal evidence. I'll look for better ones.

But anyway, with 12,000 newtons os bite, T.Rex still would have the nastiest bite in the animal kingdom.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


To tell the truth, its more of trying to insult than dispatch. I ask a question, and all this blows up in aggression and bitterness. The thing is, people who spend almost all their time on the computer or up in rooms cuz they dont or cant do anything else tend to want to pick on or fight over the computer. Notice the pettiness, chandler, like of Josh. Trying to quote a whole dictionary to me. I dont think well in a fight, and I dont know every scientific word, but why should I feel bad that a couple hackers "dispatch" what I say, Ive always succeeded in science so far and I still will, maybe I dont have the advantage of being on a computer all the time, but thats ok. They never answer me when I ask where they found this information so I can see it for myself and get caught up, Chandler, I dont even take them that seriously, Levine is a cool sport, but people like HonkieTOng and Josh, have nothing better than to sit and try and make others feel stupi! d on a dinosaur site for curious fans and children. If you ask me, its pathetic. And I doubt honkietong will ever tell me where he found all his information...I wish he would stop trying to get me upset, it dont work and it gets annoying when your trying to relax and someone is trying to tease, really sad, and the whole "type me aussie accent on dis ting when me be tokin" please stop it. Its goofy man, just goofy.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Haha. Honkie, when you dont wanna answer something, boy do you change the subject, Im talking about the speculative "yuck mouth", or septic bite if you will. notice the words "nasty".
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


If humans can bite with up to 175 pounds, and tyrannosaurs can bite with up to 3011 pounds, then the bite of the human is stronger pound per pound. My weight is 1% that of a T. rex, or about 120 pounds. Let's assume that my biting force is also around 120 pounds. (or perhaps 175 pounds is a really spectacular world record, and the average person falls much lower than that-- help?) A pack of one hundred people my size, with no weapons, would have equal weight but four times the biting power of a T. rex, and therefore could kill it easily. And you though the raptor-rex battles were silly. By the way, does anyone know if raptors had powerful bites?
from Brad, age 14, Woodville, ON, Canada; January 10, 2001


Not that I want to kill you, Madhatter off or anything, but I've noticed that you have stated that the idea behind T.Rex having a nasty bite is all speculation. Here, to avoid putting words into your mouth, let me quote you:

"May I also add, the whole theory about T.Rex and his "nasty bite" is all in speculation too, so you cant rear that one up about how deadly T.rex is anymore..."

Alright, you should have made that statement about 5 years ago, and it would be valid, for till then, no really in-dept studies into T.Rex biting abilities have been made, so any statements about his bite till then was well, at best, quite speculative.

Of course, speculation can be proven right if it was tested, and I'm afraid that was what people did in 1996. To prove speculation correct, as Levine would say, "good old fashioned taphomony can't be beat!" I agree, well, this's what happned:

One would think that a creature as dentally well endowed as Tyrannosaurus rex--sporting the largest teeth of any dinosaur--makes a pretty strong case for being a predator of reckoning, even if it does have puny forearms. Yet a minority of paleontologists maintained that T. rex teeth and jaws couldn't stand up to the wear and tear of being an aggressive predator. The case to the contrary just got literally and figuratively stronger.

In the first experimental attempt to measure the jaw- clamping capacity of any dinosaur, a Berkeley biologist and a team of Stanford biomechanical engineers have determined that T. rex wielded a bite force exceeding that of any living animal. Its teeth could exert a crushing force of more than 3,000 pounds. According to biologist and lead author Gregory Erickson, a former student of Horner's, "This is like the weight of a pickup truck behind each tooth."

The new evidence comes from a 70-million-year-old fossilized Triceratops pelvis found five years ago in Montana's fossil-rich Hell Creek Formation by amateur dinosaur hunter Kenneth Olson. The four-and-a-half-foot-long bone contains 58 definite bite marks and another two dozen possible dental impressions from teeth that could only have belonged to a tyrannosaur. Many of the marks display distinctive furrows as though the biter had struggled to deflesh its prey. Repeated biting removed a sizable chunk from the front of the largest pelvic bone.

For his study that appeared in the August 22 issue of Nature, Erickson, a graduate student in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, collaborated with Stanford University engineer Dennis Carter, an expert on the mechanics of bone, graduate students Samuel Van Kirk and Jinntung Su, and two other Stanford colleagues to calculate how much force the T. rex teeth endured while biting Triceratops. They installed a cast of a real T. rex tooth made of aluminum and bronze (which mimics the rigidity of enamel) into a hydraulic mechanical loading machine--a substitute for jaws that looks and acts a bit like a guillotine. A piston-powered bar holding the tooth made punctures in a cow pelvis that mirrored those in the Triceratops bone, and the team measured the amount of force needed to recreate those wounds. Erickson chose cow bone for the surrogate victim because it has a microscopic structure similar to bone from Triceratops, also a large herb! ivore.

One of the two tooth casts got dented when the scientists underestimated their machine's power and the tooth penetrated the bone completely, striking the steel table beneath it. Real-life rexs, Erickson says, would have broken teeth occasionally after violently impacting bone, and they regularly replaced each tooth every few years.

To leave a half-inch deep mark in a bone, a T. rex canine would have absorbed 1,440 pounds of force. By being closer to the jaw joint, the rear teeth were even more powerful, and the team estimated a force there of 3,011 pounds. (For the record, the most force that the rear teeth of a human can generate is 175 pounds--suitable for cracking Corn Nuts, but little use on pelvic blades.)

The results suggest that T. rex's dental arsenal is consistent with the idea that they hunted live prey. A scavenger wouldn't need as much bite to deflesh an animal that couldn't escape, and the strong teeth of tyrannosaurs could presumably handle the torquing and compressing that would be part of a day's work capturing and subduing gargantuan prey.

The teeth of T. rex also closely resemble those of two renowned modern-day hunters: American alligators, the dinosaur's closest living relatives, and great white sharks. Like the alligator, T. rex has stout, rounded canine-like teeth embedded and cemented in sockets which can withstand large forces. Skulls of both species often display bite marks from teeth used in intraspecific sparring. Alligators can exert a bite force of just under 3,000 pounds when rapidly snapping their jaws, but T. rex bites exceed this force with minimal effort.

Like the white shark, T. rex teeth exceed those of all their relatives in size and bear serrated edges that can cut through bone. Serrations run along the front and back of tyrannosaur teeth, as on a steak knife, which suggests to Erickson that the dinosaur used "puncture and pull" biting to inflict big cuts on the head, neck, or spine and then perhaps let their prey bleed to death. Komodo dragons, though they have relatively weak teeth, employ a similar biting and slicing strategy on prey. But, says Erickson, "There is no great analogy [among living animals] for T. rex. If there were we'd have a scary world."

Thanks Erickson.

Anyway, given my new understanding between " equivocal" and "conclusive" evidence, I must say that this shows rather conslusively that the idea that T.Rex had a very nasty bite is more fact than speculation.

(Ps. Even the greatest speculations about the maximum biting force of T.Rex were exceeded by the researched figures. So the speculations were technically wrong after all! But I guess this proves rather well that T.Rex was nastier than we thought!)
from Josh, age 12, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Hmm, "equivocal". People around here seem to be using that word a lot, being only twelve, I can't say I am as skilled in english as them, so the frequent use of that word has constantly confused me, does it really mean so much? How come the simple word "equivocal" has been used so much in the brinning down of most of MadHatter's views? I didn't quite understand it until I looked it up in the online dictionary, I'll put it up here for your benifit:

Main Entry: equiv.o.cal
Pronunciation: i-'kwi-v&-k&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin aequivocus, from aequi- equi- + voc-, vox voice -- more at VOICE
Date: 1599
1 a : subject to two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse b : uncertain as an indication or sign
2 a : of uncertain nature or classification b : of uncertain disposition toward a person or thing : UNDECIDED c : of doubtful advantage, genuineness, or moral rectitude
synonym see OBSCURE
- equiv.o.cal.i.ty /-"kwi-v&-'ka-l&-tE/ noun
- equiv.o.cal.ly /-'kwi-v&-k(&-)lE/ adverb
- equiv.o.cal.ness /-k&l-n&s/ noun

The thesaurus says this:

Entry Word: equivocal
Function: adj
Synonyms: DOUBTFUL 1, ambiguous, borderline, clouded, dubious, fishy, indecisive, open, problematic, suspect
Related Word: disreputable open to question
Text: 1
Contrasted Words clear, distinct, understandable; categorical, explicit, unambiguous, univocal; certain, conclusive
Antonyms unequivocal
2 characterized by a mixture of opposing feelings
Contrasted Words assured, certain, decided, sure
3 3
Contrasted Words credible

So now I understand the meaning of "equivocal". It was a fashionable word started by Levine. I must say, now armed with the knowledge of the meaning of "equivocal", I must say, yes MadHatter, you are basing a lot of your points on EQUIVOCAL evidence. I'm afraid they don't carry much weight, in that case. Try something as Honkie would say "solid".

Main Entry: 1sol.id
Pronunciation: 'sä-l&d
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English solide, from Middle French, from Latin solidus; akin to Greek holos whole -- more at SAFE
Date: 14th century
1 a : being without an internal cavity b (1) : printed with minimum space between lines (2) : joined without a hyphen c : not interrupted by a break or opening
2 : having, involving, or dealing with three dimensions or with solids
3 a : of uniformly close and coherent texture : not loose or spongy : COMPACT b : possessing or characterized by the properties of a solid : neither gaseous nor liquid
4 : of good substantial quality or kind : as a : SOUND b : made firmly and well
5 a : having no break or interruption b : UNANIMOUS c : intimately friendly or associated
6 a : PRUDENT; also : well-established financially b : serious in purpose or character
7 : of one substance or character: as a : entirely of one metal or containing the minimum of alloy necessary to impart hardness b : of a single color
- sol.id.ly adverb
- sol.id.ness noun

Or you could try finding something "conclusive"

Main Entry: con.clu.sive
Pronunciation: -'klü-siv, -ziv
Function: adjective
Date: 1536
1 : of, relating to, or being a conclusion
2 : putting an end to debate or question especially by reason of irrefutability
- con.clu.sive.ly adverb
- con.clu.sive.ness noun
synonyms CONCLUSIVE, DECISIVE, DETERMINATIVE, DEFINITIVE mean bringing to an end. CONCLUSIVE applies to reasoning or logical proof that puts an end to debate or questioning . DECISIVE may apply to something that ends a controversy, a contest, or any uncertainty . DETERMINATIVE adds an implication of giving a fixed character or direction . DEFINITIVE applies to what is put forth as final and permanent .

Hmm, it looks like I went overboard with the online dictionaries, but they're cool anyway.

Have a great week.
from Josh, age 12, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


It looks like I'll have to play your game to make you happy and quit whining about the lack of our expertal support.

Frank Galef, a extremely acomplished zoologist and doctor, pointed out that there are many more senarios that are more likely for the behaviour of the raptors. He also did many leg-proportion experiments to determine the nature of avian locomotion, and concluded that the raptors are not as fast as previously thought, and also lacked in jumping capacity. He also exaimined the sickle-claws of the raptors and decided that they probally had a minimal role in killing.

Matthew Bonnan, theropod expert, fossil hunter, residential theropod advisor at DINOSAUR. Studied sauropods for years before switching to theropods. Experience with sauropod fossils convinced him that the most obvious solution is not always right and applied that belief to the raptors. He concluded there is no strong case for pack/big prey hunting and stated that alternative ideas are more accucrate. Took part in a few dinosaur digs before.

Forster, C., paleontologist. Wrote an article in "The Mosasaur" called "The paleoecology of the ornithopod dinosaur Tenontosaurus tilletti from the Cloverly Formation, Big Horn Basin of Wyoming and Montana." Where he suggests alternative ways of approaching the Deinonychus remains found nearby. Concurrs there is no solid link between the suggested pack/big prey hunting theory and the Deinonychus-gawned Tenontosaurus fossil.

Maxwell, W. D., and J. H. Ostrom. Both wrote a article "Taphonomy and paleobiological implications of Tenontosaurs-Deinonychus associations" in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 15(4): 707-712. Ostrom was the very paleontologist who named Deinonychus. Despite suggesting the pack hunting/ big prey hunting theory, Ostrom admits that there are also other equally plausable theories that can be drawn from the same evidence. Admits it's not INEVITABLE for Deinonychus to hunt in packs.

Matt Wedel, qualified biologist, reached the same conclusions on raptor jump capacity and speeds as Galef. Proposes the dromaeosaurs may be quite big time scavengers too.

Russell Hawley, education director of Tate, a question and answer organization. Competent in zoology. Suggested raptors may not be as smart, social or as mean as previously thought, basing his statements on raptor braincasts and caompairative anatomy.

Mark Norell, paleontologist. Studied dromaeosaur skulls and suggested that the raptors may not have been likely to hunt in packs, observes some antisocial behaviour in dromaeosaurs.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr, paleontologist. Also independently reached the conclusion that the raptors were not as swift as commonly thought and were "grapple and slash" hunters, limiting their usefulness in big prey hunting.

Thank you
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Eh, brudder, wat tok u? All your professor said was "prey size varies with predator" wat. I don see how it says raptr must have huntared big prey. Also, i dink the professor also noe that there is a limit to the prey size variation and the predator. So weather he say matter more or not don matter for it kan be used agenst you.

happy hour, brudder.
from Short F., age 14, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


To date, there is no satisfactory conclusion as to if the dire wolves or smilodon did hunt in packs or not. And it's it's amazing you can draw such a secure conclusion from another species that died much longer ago...hmm.

Anyway, there is hard evidence for T.Rex having a nasty bite. Many fossils have been found with T.Rex bite holes on them. Note the word is not marks, but holes. That is very soild and concrete evidence that T.Rex did have a very soild and nasty bite, scavenger or predator. I'm sorry? Did I shoot donw another one of your points? Don't blame me! You're the one putting up the targets! Give us tougher ones please.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Hmm, I prefer to abstain from this, but the others here seem to attack in a pack MadHatter, and they are dispaching your points with ruthless efficiency. Well, the reason I hold such views on the raptors is because my lecturer though me to do exactly that. Disregard the "experts" and take a look yourself, you might pick out something they've missed. I'm not kidding, even the greatest expert in paleontology is not too far above the beginner, that's because paleontology is like no other science, the tables are pretty fair and nobody really has a lead on everybody.

I've noticed that you have based your arguments mainly on the construction of the raptors, but I'm afraid as far as scientific methods go, they can only be classified as speculation. What that can break or make your case is hard evidence. Want to prove big prey hunting? Find a fossil of a big animal with a raptor tooth stuck in it or something, something that shows that it had survived an attack. Want to prove pack hunting? Find a trackway that shows a group of raptors attacking an animal. Get what I'm driving at? Even the word of the best expert in the world remains as good as a guess by a beginner if there is no hard evidence.

The reason prehaps the rest seem to be so devastatingly effective on your points and your ego is that they did exactly that. Instead of trying to draw untestable and therefore uncertain information from a fossil, they've based their arguments on hard, solid ground. Quoting an expert is good, but standing on hard evidence is even better, no matter what an expert insists is not going to make a grey elephant white.

I'm afraid that your attackers have decided to stand on hard ground, by questioning the big prey and pack hunting theory via statically based lack of evidence, common physiology, and common sense. These things are hardly deniable by no matter how strong the word of a expert. Even my lecturer would have been proud of the case they constructed, had he read all this. (but I think he'll disapprove of them swarming you)

And not only that, they've attacked your main line of defense, which is via what the fossils of the raptors themselves tell us, by proposing alternative ideas and finding flaws in yours. I suggest you stop scolding them and engage them at the same game, finding non-equivocal evidence to support your case. Look, take a look at what the raptor skeleton can tell us and you'll notice that most of the evidence on their bodies is equivocal, non supporting or denying your idea. That's good, but to build a case, you must find evidence that utterly screams your case, not one that agrees one moment with you, and later to an alternative idea.

I'm not trying to condone what the rest did to you, trying to oppress you or what, but I'll be telling a lie if I said that because of that, you argued a better case. They did, and I cannot deny that.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Another idea for the fanfic section. Could you put up a header telling us what was the most recent addition?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001
Good idea. It's up. JC


May I also add, the whole theory about T.Rex and his "nasty bite" is all in speculation too, so you cant rear that one up about how deadly T.rex is anymore. Not to mention it is now fact smilodon bit through the throat of prey to severe blood vessels and windpipe, and with teeth like that, he could have taken prey bigger than himself, even compared to lions, not to mention smilodon has been found in large numbers, ahhh but before you say anything, dont forget the dire wolf. Were they both loners? Packers? And you do not need to use overly sophisticated words to win your argument, that just shows ignorance man.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


HonkieTong, you do not have to talk down to others and finish it off with a thanks. Speaking of unscientific, thats just ignorant. What bothers me about you is you never tell me where you get this information, Im not doubting you, just curious.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Chandler, thats what Ive been trying to say about "raptors" for a long time, and people try to shoot down eveyrthing I say, but not what you say. Is it how you say it, or is it your just known better on this thing??? I guess you dont have a "pack" forming around you, huh?
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Also, Levine's and Honkie Tong's ideas DO weigh less than a actual pro, WHY???, he has been in it longer, got his degree, wiser, longer time in the study, more experience, been through and graduated college with this as his major under his belt, wrote books on facts, etc. SOmethings they do say is wrong, but the things they say has a greater degree of truth to it rather than an amateur. I know you just going to disagree with some long speech, but its true no matter what. I guess I may have been wrong about the raptors, but thats ok, Im still an amateur in highschool, busy with much more than paleontology on my time. Lilian T. needs to stop trying to correct me, becuase she never thinks for herself, just agrees with what the majority says in here. Then all the people who keep commenting under constantly changin names, get some guts and post 1 name on here! About the raptors, as far as I know, the foot and hand were more advanced than amost other theropod's for cutting with force, but thats from the foot and metatarsals and forelimbs and manus. Lilian if you want defense, look at something like theriznosaurus, apatosaurus and prosauropod claws...I dont even wanna waste my time talkin to you, what am I doin. Haha.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


Your correct, but notice this is coming from someone who is new to this and is constantly ridiculed when the ridculers dont question each other. It may not be fully scientific, but its a smart thing to do, to accept advice from a amateur rather than a pro is a intelligent thing to do, nonetheless. . Anyway, where did you get the new raptor info and where did you get all this information. Please answer.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 10, 2001


I prefer to avoid even slight rationalization unless I have really solid evidence staring me down the face. Drawing the rationalization that raptors hunted in packs from a few fossils is not a good thing to do. This was the folly of many paleontologists, who presented their "rationalizations" to the media who accepted it as fact!
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 9, 2001


Actually, I don't enjoy shooting down popular ideas. I used to think that it was for sure that the raptors hunted in packs and took on big prey, as we are told. But what I was not aware of until recently was that that idea has not been proven nor is it FACT! It was just somethign that was so exciting that it got repeated so many times by the misguided media and paleontologists that it becomes gosple and accepted as such. As of now, almost anybody you try to convince that there are alternative ideas seem to take it offensively, despite having so little evidence to support their claim. I still think deducing pack behaviour is a little too far to go from a few associated fossils. At the very best, we can assume social behaviour, but never pack behaviour. It's a classic case of over-assumption. Offically, it means pack hunting is not a valid or conclusive theory to draw from these fossils.

Also another thing, and if that's the case, why do people take it that it's CONFIRMED that the raptors went around slaying herbivores in packs?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 9, 2001


I think you got it Chandeler, my objective here is to prove that the idea of pack-hunting, big-prey killing raptors is not any more likely to be correct than other ideas just because its more exciting or popular. But what I learned from the others so far seems to prtove that it's ACTUALLY less likely for the raptors to hunt in packs and take on big prey!

Thus, the debate drags on...
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 9, 2001


I wasn't saying that all deinonychosaurs hunted in packs, and I also wasn't "unitarianizing" or whatever all dinosaurs from one bird-like behavior. That's just one rationalization for the discovery of deinonychosaur skeletons together (as if in a pack, graveyard, disaster, etc.). There's really no point in dragging this any further...we aren't getting anywhere. Honkie, you sure like shooting down popular ideas just because they are "popular" though:) Usually this is a good tactic (hehe) but not always.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 9, 2001


I've noticed that MadHatter has a habit of defining how much "value" a person's words carry based on his position in soceity. That's an unscientific way of doing things. Honkie can be correct and he still will be, no matter how good your "professor" is. If anything, MadHatter, your words probally don't mean as much around here, given they way you do your research. Quit quoting people that agree with you as they migh also be wrong, open your eyes and look at the evidence yourself instead of hiding behind Bakker, Horner, Larson or Cope or Dong Zhiming, they may be wrong.
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Arguments for and against raptors hunting in packs and taking on big prey:

For

. Pack hunting was the only way for the raptors to bring down large prey, thus they must have employed it.

. The raptors all have a very high EQ, making them intelligent, giving them the capacity to work in organized packs.

. The raptors were armed to the teeth in a series of blades and claws, and that would have made them extremely deadly indeed.

. Using comparative anatomy, one can link up the saber tooth cats which brought down large prey, to the raptors, thus, the raptors were capable of killing animals many times their size.

. Fossils of raptors have been associated with fossils of sizable herbivorous dinosaurs, meaning they must have hunted in packs and brought down big prey.

. Bigger raptors like Utahraptor were even deadlier than ever, meaning they could take on even larger prey in a pack.

. The raptors were agile and fast, and were also good jumpers, enabling them to jump onto their prey.

. It is obvious that raptors did hunt in a pack.

Against

. Who says the raptors must have brought down large prey? They could have been content with smaller animals, eliminating the need for a organized pack, a social group maybe.

. EQ is not a conclusive way to determine intelligence. Besides, EQ alone cannot determine behavior, which has to be investigated via hard evidence, not EQ.

. Granted, the raptors do own a impressive set of blade and claws, but were they good for hunting big herbivores? In terms of hunting, no modern day big prey hunter is know to effectively use slashing as a primary way of killing, but rather, going for the neck of the prey with a killing bite. Given their size, it means that even a raptor like Utahraptor would have to clamber up a large animal to go for the neck. One must remember these animals were not static targets, but would certainly rear and buckle and run when attacked. It's safer and equally plausible to assume that the raptors would have used that set of claws against smaller animals.

. One CANNOT link saber tooth cats up with raptors via comparative anatomy for the reason they were different. Saber tooths kill by stabbing and bleeding their prey with their specialized canines, something the raptors do not have. The raptors were slashers and biters, not stabbers. To do a valid comparative anatomy, one has to look at other slasher/biters.

. Finding fossils of dead animals show that they are indeed, very dead. Finding associated fossils do not implicate social behavior anymore than finding a collection of dead flies around a dead rat. Also, that piece of fossil evidence is equivocal, it doesn't tell us convulsively if the raptors were scavenging from an-already-dead animal or killing it. It's another case of drawing the wrong "facts" from too little evidence.

. Certain factors will come into play more when size increases, its simplistic to say that if a Deinonychus
could leap up a meter, then a Utahraptor, being three times the size, would have been able to leap up three meters. This is certainly not true. Big raptors suffer from a much reduced leap capacity due to their weight, which would make us question what its "deadly" foot claws were for if it could not bring them into play as effectively as its smaller counterparts. If anything, Utahraptor if not as deadly as it seems. A Tyrannosaurid design of the same size would have hunted more effectively. Also, there has been absolutely NO evidence to show that Utahraptor did hunt in a pack.

. Widely accepted statements about the agility and the speed of the raptors have been derived from over simplistic study of the raptors. The latest studies seem to indicate that the raptors may not have been as fast as they were though to be nor jump as high. If anything, the raptors seem to have the most limited maximum speed for their weight class of any carnivorous dinosaur. New estimates of their jump capacity are also much reduced from the original estimates.

. Once again, there has been no solid evidence indicating pack behavior. Pack behavior is truly complex and cannot be simply equated with raptors based on scant study. The raptors probably had some sort of social life, but the question remains if they did hunt in organized packs. If they did, the evidence should smack us across the face, instead of us poring over every single bit of bone to find anything even vaguely supporting the notion. It's time to let the evidence speak out for themselves.
from F Denota, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


In his book _Dinosaurs - the Textbook_, Spencer G. Lucas argues
violently that dromaeosaurids lived in "packs", but that there is no
evidence that they lived in "herds". He must know something about the
deeper meanings of these words that we don't.

The jury is still out on the question of the advantages of pack
hunting insects. Smaller dromaeosaurids, feeding on lizards and
insects, might still have stuck together in groups because they
couldn't think of anything smarter to do. Fish do it.

There is this theory stating that the extinction of the dinosaurs
was due to murderous packs of giant raptors becoming so effective
that they ate just about everyone else before disappearing out in
space. It's still under some debate what propulsion system they used
for their rocket ships. I love it when dromaeosaurid fans take their theories to the extreme;-)

Anyway, I guess its hard to prove either way, because big prey hunting and pack hunting is behaviour that is impossible to tell for certain just from the fossils. Finding trackways of a group of dromaeosaurids still dosen't prove pack hunting, just that they were social.

Of course, the changing face of paleontology has quite changed our view of the raptors, they were not as fast or as smart as previously thought, they were no longer the king predators (before Horner, some people suggested that they might have stolen kills from Tyrannosaurids by chasing them away...of course, everybody assumed at that time that Tyrannosaurids were mainly solitary). One thing I can be sure of is that the dromaeosaurids did hang around one another in some species, but stayed alone in others. The sickle claw could have more likely served some kind of a defensive function instead of a hunting one.

But one must know and accept that any theories for pack hunting is based on at best, equivocal, no matter how popular these theories may be. You can argue as violently as you want, but your argument is only as good as your evidence. There is also a serious lack of evidence showing unsucessful big prey hunting that could finally put this to rest.

As much as you would like to argue Madhatter, there simply just is a lack of evidence showing big prey hunting. What makes so so certain that Velociraptor hunted Protoceratops? Why haven't we found evidence of that?
from Jon F, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Eagles do not hunt anything that they can't carry off, making them small prey hunters. Thanks.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


What I'm trying to do here is not to absolutely prove that the raptors were big prey hunters, but that it was not necessary true that they hunted big prey or that they hunted in packs.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Well, if you assume the raptors were big prey hunters, than the early Tyrannosaurids must have done better as they overrode the raptors and forced them to the sidelines by the late cretacous.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


A serious lack of scientific courtesy over here, if I wanted to debunk Einstein when he suggested that it's impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, would I say "Newton was a bigger guy than you, and he said that speed can increase with no limit. What he says carries more weight than you, so what you say is not as important."

YOU DO NOT QUOTE PALEONTOLOGIST PROFESSORS AND USE THEM TO DISCREDIT PEOPLE NOT AGREEING WITH YOU. STOP PICK AND MIXING YOUR VIEWS! THAT'S UNSCIENTIFIC!
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Well, I for my part do not assmume that they did not hunt in packs, but I figured its not any less likely than them hunting in packs. The problem arises when there is a serious dirth of good evidence supporting the pack hunting theory. Most of the good evidence we've found so far seem to support solitary behaviour in the animals, while that supporting pack hunting is yet to come up with anything good.

I don't think pack hunting was necessary to raptor behaviour had they went around alone, terrorising smaller animals, which they would have done well. I find it odd that people assume that they must have hunted in packs when it's not necessary so! Not to mention we have so little evidence to support pack hunting! How did you draw up that idea at all? Do your points lack null intergity?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


I'll do it this time Levine,

Well Chandeler, I don't think its too good to describe raptor behaviour via modern birds. Because...

What you are doing here is actually using the well known
Principle of Uniformitarianism. This means what is happening now happened way back when too. Since taking in flocks happens now in birds, it seems relatively safe to assume that it occurred back in the Mesozoic via the raptors as well...

Yikes!!! No! Once again, flag called on account of misue of the Principle of Uniformitarianism! (That principle is normally used in conjunction with geologic processes, and not biological ones, anyway).

It is NOT safe to assume that all behaviors found in the modern world were present in earlier times. Heck, you could then argue "domestication occurs in the Holocene, therefore early primates (non Homo sapien) domesticated animals too!".

For complex behaviors, or behaviors currently restricted to a single clade like hunting big prey,you cannot just assume they were present at any earlier time. If you are proposing unusual (derived or complex) behaviors for some fossil form, you should back it up with some sort of testable or supporting evidence (morphological structures which correlate with that behavoir; phylogenetic bracketing; good old fashioned taphomony (can't be beat!); etc.).

Thank you.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Those leg claws? Well, they remind me of defensive structures. They were mounted on the end of a mispropotioned leg to facilate their use. Not to mention that Trodoon, (a non big prey hunter) had them too. They probally used them for defence, like that fossil shows. The Velociraptor was defending itself. Those claws were good for defence, not offence.
from Lilian T., age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


You still don't get it do you? Anything said in paleontology by no matter how experienced a proffessor is fair game as paleontology is not fixed. Nothing that professor said will carry more weight than what Honkie or Levine said for the simple reason that there are no rules in paleontology. You can be the best paleontologist in the world but still be beat by a nine year old on a certain subject. So did I immediately assume that T.Rex was a scavenger the moment Horner said so just because waht he says matters more than others? Seesh, this is science, not politics. I don't care what Horner or Bakker says, as long as its not fact but specualtion or ideas, its open to attack.

Yes, I do think that the size of prey varies with the predator, but ah, that's a equivocal statement your proffesor made. If you ask me, it carries no weight as it does not support nor deny the big prey theory at all. Do you mind, stop using these equivocals to confuse people?

We're looking at very varied weight difference here you know, from 12 times your weight to 300 times. Even the most the saber-tooths managed was prey 10 times their size, and they were using all their specialized stabbing equipment. Heck, if what you say is true, I'd expect to see crows killing an elephant. Size does matter, there is a pratical limit to the difference in size between the predator and prey.

Anyway, Megaraptor is NOT a RAPTOR AT ALL! Raptors do not include species like Troodon or Unenlagia! As desperately as you would like to enlist Megaraptor into the "raptors", modern paleontology refuses that. Anyway, I can't figure why Megaraptor should be a raptor at all,metatarsals all wrong, pubis too ventral, ischium lacking a proper obturator, and long bones much too light. And the skull's palatal was too thick, antorbital fenestrae too rostral, distal carina too small, not to mention the trenchant ungual was hardly present…oh, the list goes on. I didn't know what you are thinking, but Megaraptor is certainly not a raptor.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


I suppose you should be careful in using the term "raptor". Megaraptor was not really closely related to the dromaeosaurids at all. From what I study, the term "raptor" refers to the dromaeosaurids, not inclusive of protot-ungulates, troodonts or anything else. Heck, if you really wanted to do your classification this way, all of Tyrannosauria would be included under "raptor" too. Now, the term "raptor" describes a group in Coelurosauria called Dromaeosauridae of which Utahraptor was the largest. That's as offical a defination I can give you for the term "raptor", use your cladistics and you'll see your error in your eariler post describing "raptor"

And yes, if you ask me, I do think that any compairism with Tyrannosaurus, though in the sprit of competion, does hold some water. If you ask me, I personally feel more effort has been put into to make sure no stone has been left unturned to get a clear picture of Tyrannosaurus. When we look at the raptors, there is a serious dirth of real research into looking into the equally pausable ideas that they may have been small-prey hunters.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say less well rounded, but my suspision is, the raptors did not have to use their arsenal of claws on anything larger than a small, two-meter dinosaur. All they would have done is to hould onto the prey with their forelimbs and bite it with their jaws, finishing it in very short order. You can't expect to do this to larger prey though.

Surprisingly, the utility of the sickle claws are diminished as size increases. A Utahraptor can barely leap due to its weight, to bring its leg claws into use. (Not that I think Megaraaptor is a raptor, but he would have been even less capable of doing so) So these claws, if present in the larger species, seem not to have a killing role.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


For the last time, GOODNESS GRACIOUS,MEGARAPTOR IS NOT A dromaeosaur. "Raptor" refers to members of the dromaeosaur family, don't make up your own definations. The offical defination for the term "raptor" in paleontology refers either to modern day birds or prey or the members of the True dromaeosaur family. NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS. Troodon was not a "raptor", niether was Megaraptor.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Yes there are huge raptors. A raptor is a dromaeosaur or something related, like Troodon or Unenlagia. Ive noticed some obessiveness about how much better T.Rex is when Im not even talking about him. This shows me that its more about, who "we think is cooler" type stuff and a put down of who we dont like. Raptors werent like they were portrayed in the media, no, but they were just as capable as any other theropod. Eagles arent the most buff animals, yet they are deadly enough, and this is with land animals and even animals larger than themselves. Raptors were ambushers and grapple/slashers. THey had a good reach, large claws, and in the early cretaceous, raptors were large predators. Those claws were used, and it is shown that in the mongolian fossils, the raptor was kicking with its feet and clawing the face. They were less powerful and kickboxer like than I thought, but they were still very capable predators, not another meal on the food chain.Now on to my "educated guesses." First, it's difficult to imagine that dromaeosaur ("raptor") dinosaurs did not slash with their claws. Of course, many dinosaurs used their claws for stability and traction (think of golf shoe cleats). Certainly raptor claws served this purpose to some extent. However, and especially in the case of raptors, their specialized, retractable "killing" claw must surely have been used as its name implies. What else would a 14" Megaraptor claw (held above the ground while the dinosaur walked) be used for?

The questions about jumping ability and and strength are a bit trickier to answer with authority. Knowledge of either attribute must be based on a surprisingly detailed knowledge of the animal's skeletal and muscle engineering. Of course, this isn't always clear from poorly are partially preserved skeletons and these are the sorts of issues that could only truly be enlightened by observing the living dinosaur. That said, we can see many similarities in skeletons of modern day predators. And the best analogy to raptor dinosaurs is probably the "raptor" birds like hawks and eagles. If these comparisons tell us anything, then we may deduce that while dromaeosaurs, like eagles, were not strong compared to T. rex or Brachiosaurus or Blue Whales, they no doubt possessed profound agility for capturing prey.

As to size of prey, this probably varied with the predator. .
This has been answered by a paleontologist, professor, which means, what he says is more than anything honkietong and levine say... "not to diss you levine, your the man"

from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


There are no "huge" "raptors." _Utahraptor_ is the largest known, like it or not, at 20 feet. _Megaraptor_ probably is not even deinonychosaurian at all, but some deinonychosaurs like _Achillobator_ may have been larger than _Utahraptor_. But no "raptor" exceeded 25 feet and/or could compete with larger predators for larger prey. I do believe that some deinonychosaurs did hunt in packs though, but they certainly didn't hunt extremely large prey. But some of the assumptions about deinonychosaurs not being able to hunt in groups and attack _Iguanodon_-sized animals are just strange. Raptors were built solidly for their size with a well-reinforced ribcage and I don't think that a fall from an iguanodont would really be a problem in all honesty. It's the iguanodont trampling the predators that would be the most dangerous part about hunting. And as for pack hunting, it is usually associated with advanced intelligence but as Gregory Paul says, the connection between brain size and predation is not clear, and therefore the connection between brain size and hunting behavior is not clear. Raptors could have very well developed advanced hunting techniques. Birds gather in flocks (not to hunt however) so dinosaurs probably exhibited similar behavior for hunting. Maybe the tribe, pack, pride, or whatever you want to call it in dinosaurs is ancestral to the condition in birds.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


I dont think you guys know how hard Ive tried to find recent information on the raptors, and for me its really really hard. The newest stuff I can find is from 1999 about Megaraptor. Then you guys have more time than I do to find stuff, I dont have that much time, but I try. Thats about it. If raptors used grapple and slash, why were theyre claws less rounded??? Easier slashing? Please answer Levine/
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


IM NOT TALKING ABOUT LATE CRETACEOUS RAPTORS! Damn. You keep insisting the ones around with T.rex. Stop being so damn obsessed with T.rex alright. It gets old quick. Im saying, what about the raptors in the early cretaceous??? The huge ones who could compete with larger predators who werent much larger, like the acrocanthosaurus? The allosaurs of Gondwana? How did raptors do then? Not late cretaceous.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Erratom notice:

I typed:
"Anyway, comapirative anatomy helps us to derive function, not behaviour. Most of your "compairative anatomy" arguments seem to describe FUNCTION. That's not a good or correct way to use compairative anatomy."

It should have been
"Anyway, comapirative anatomy helps us to derive function, not behaviour. Most of your "compairative anatomy" arguments seem to describe BEHAVIOUR. That's not a good or correct way to use compairative anatomy."

Thank you.

(Don't get my post mixed up with Honkie's, where's the line?"
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001
I fixed the line and changed the text. JC


Mad Hatter, don't you think Levine and Billy Macdraw have made a compelling case AGAINST the raptors being pack-hunting, big prey hunters? They seem to have done an in-dept restudy of the raptors, more than any raptor fan I have seen to do.

Don't you think you shoud revise the way you think about the raptors too? Do your ideas hold water? Are they based on conclusive or equivocal evidence? Are they testable? Are they repeatable by other researchers? Are they falsifiable and do they have predictive power? Most of our old ideas on raptordom fail all these tests miserably, hence the current revision undergoing raptors now. The new crop of budding paleontologists now question, instead of accept many ideas about the raptors for the simple fact they were not fact! It's NOT a fact that the raptors were hard hitters, it's NOT a fact they hunted in packs, it's NOT a fact they must have been big prey hunters. Now, the reason being that these ideas remain as ideas and should not be mixed up as fact. Because to be fact, your ideas have to pass the forementioned tests, something they have yet to do. If anything, it seems that the contray ideas about the raptors are gaining ground.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Mad Hatter, it dosen't matter if the raptors were hard hitters or not, they simply lacked the right methods and weapons to bring down large prey. Raptors seem to employ a grapple and slash method, much like modern day eagles, which kill their prey by grappeling them and then tearning them apart with their talons. Modern big cats employ a different method with different tools, of of which a raptor could not have done.

Besides, the grapple and slash method is useful for disabling animals about your size rapidly, but is virtually useless against bigger animals capable of absorbing more damage. So I don't see any reason why the raptors would have been best suited to hunt big prey. If they did, it would not have been their usual mode, not even for Utahraptor.
from Lillian T., age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 8, 2001


Well, Madhatter, you have sadi that "many" paleontologists have used "compairative anatomy" to link raptors and cats, once again, this is not true. From what I know, only Bakker is known to do that, and he names it an "antology" not conclusive "compairative anatomy".

Anyway, comapirative anatomy helps us to derive function, not behaviour. Most of your "compairative anatomy" arguments seem to describe behavior. That's not a good or correct way to use compairative anatomy.

What you are doing here is actually using the well known
Principle of Uniformitarianism. This means what is happening now happened way back when too. Since hunting big prey goes on now in big cats, it seems relatively safe to assume that it occurred back in the Mesozoic via the raptors as well...

Yikes!!! No! Once again, flag called on account of misue of the Principle of Uniformitarianism! (That principle is normally used in conjunction with geologic processes, and not biological ones, anyway).

It is NOT safe to assume that all behaviors found in the modern world were present in earlier times. Heck, you could then argue "domestication occurs in the Holocene, therefor Late Cretaceous coelurosaurs domesticated Late K Asian protot-ungulates".

For complex behaviors, or behaviors currently restricted to a single clade like hunting big prey,you cannot just assume they were present at any earlier time. If you are proposing unusual (derived or complex) behaviors for some fossil form, you should back it up with some sort of testable or supporting evidence (morphological structures which correlate with that behavoir; phylogenetic bracketing; good old fashioned taphomony (can't be beat!); etc.).

Anyway, there is no strong similarity between the raptors and the big cats, so no, campairative anatomy and the Principle of Uniformitarianism cannot be used to support your claims. The raptors were no hard hitters, and no, I don't think they could be alikened to arboreal carnivores too.

But then again, I have no idea why you keep insisting a raptor HAS to take on big prey. There were a lot of other genera of dinosauria that were smaller, safer, and easier to catch than the big herbivores, not to mention exploting these food sources, the raptors worry little about direct competition from the big carnivores (aka.T.Rex). If you ask me, the raptor design seems to exploit this, their design is not really what you'll expect for a big prey hunter. Poor jumpers with great acceleration but a moderate speed. Not to mention an inability to inflict a magitude of damage on the target. These animals took mostly prey their size or smaller, not bigger.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ? January 8, 2001


I, too, have never ceased to be amazed by the incredulus claims made by certain paleontologists on the raptors.

I must admit that some of these claims are so convincing, that faced with a constant barage of them, one becomes more and more inclined to believe them.

Also, one is tempted to believe them precisely becasue they tell us what we want to believe- that the raptors were the deadilest, pack hunting, fast and clean killers of big animals.

Restraint and rational rethinking of the evidence are the bane of any urban lifestyle, Hence, these paleontologists either avoid mentioning these essentials, or present them reluctantly in fine print, often without emphasis.

Advising overzealous individuals on thinking about the raptors sensibly has thus become a gargantuan task.

Often, they seek a incredible and incredulous word from paleontologists to rid themselves of any doubts, failing to be convinced that their original ideas need to be thought through slowly and nonommiting contradictory evidence that may help them to achive a accucrate picture.

I'm also troubled by people who scream: "Come on, its obvious raptors were big prey hunters, just look at the claws, they were hard hitters!"

It's ridiculous to exhort a statement like this for such superfical reasons.

Our society must not adopt the compulsion to accept ideas about dinosaurs based on how cosmetic, romantic or exciting they may be, ommiting the fact that these ideas may have been based on sketchy or fragmentory or equivocal evidence.

Rather, the priority should be to achive a rational, detailed and nonommiting approach to dinosaurs and attain an accucrate view of them by questioning, not accepting exciting ideas.

Sad to say, there is no shortcut to effectively obtaining even a vaguely correct view of the raptors.

Looking at Tyrannosaurus, much ink had been spilled and many a fossil have been studied and debated into finally putting him up as a powerful predator with keen senses with some form of social behaviour decended from the Coelurosaurs, as opposed the simple and widely-accepted old theory of it being a slow, solitary scavenger with poor eyesight decended from the Carnosaurs. One can just see the great difference that can be put up once ideas are put aside and the evidence restudied in even greater detail. Needless to say, the new ideas about T.Rex were not popular at first, but have now emerged as the shining glory of detailed paleontological work.

Looking at the raptors, one cannot but must notice the great difference in the amount of work done restudying the evidence. We seem to have gone so far on vague and sketchy evidence that we have forgotten to restudy the evidence at hand and draw new and more accucrate evidence from it. Granted, if we did so, the new, and more accucrate image of the raptors will be extemely different indeed.

But do people want it that way? Maybe we don't, maybe we prefer to think of the raptors as the superefficent movie-monsters they so vividly represent in our minds. Any other idea or approach may be considered heretical or offensive. We don't want to change our way, we don't want to look at things from a clearer point of view, we hate and detest the paradigm shift.

But that we cannot avoid, it will happen, even as we contuine to support our cherished ideas about the raptors, the true fossils sit in the musuem and scream out for somebody to take another look at them, a closer look.

And like T.Rex, our old ideas about the raptors will be forcefully, painfully changed, just like the changes, Newton, Einstein and Lorenz have bestowed upond us. The paradigm will shift.

It's almost paradigm and our old ideas about the raptors will not matter, for everything looks different, on the other side.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


My, you seemed to have convinced yourself that it is unavoidable to classify raptors as hunters of big prey, have you not?

Well, tell me why you think so and I'll give you alternative or contradictary theories based on fact, are you game?
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Arboreal, are you suggesting raptors could climb trees? Unlikely man, they'll kill themselves. And yes, Megaraptor is not a raptor.

Anyway, I don't think Utahraptor was a big prey hunter, it looks the sort to take on Hypsilophodon, not a Iguanadon. And yes, Levine is correct, the raptors lack the porper equipment to take on large prey. And no, it's not obvious from the bodies of the raptors that they were large prey hunters, it seems to point in the opposite direction, given that they most likely did not hunt in packs.
from Lillian Tay, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Gee, I don't see baboons taking on wildebeast. What makes you so sure they hunted in packs anyway? Based on evidence that points both ways? Tsk tsk tsk.
from ?, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Well, I got the info from my local musuem paleontologist. Levin also helps, he studies paleontology and zoology if I'm not wrong. Soem of my deductions were also based on my basic understanding of biology.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Quite accucrate. A machine gun stands a marginal chance of destroying a jeep, even if you have a number of them. What you need is something that deals a lot of damage to a single location, like an anti-tank rocket.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Well, for one thing, Megaraptor was not a raptor.

Well, hunting big prey needs a lot of specialization, and its those adaptions I fail to see in the raptors. It had no stabbing equipment it could use to disable big prey rapidly or bleed it to death. As for Utahraptor, I do know that its unlikely for one to sucessfully bring down a Iguanadon by itself...not to mention they did not hunt in packs.

Another thing, what is seemingly obvious in paleontology is usually not correct. We used to think that the dome-headed dinosaurs directly butted heads, but that idea is wrong of course. Now, revising what we do know about the raptors seem to tell us that the raptors do not and cannot kick well, run extremely fast, hunted in packs, nor jump really high.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Billy Macdraw, I happened to see that you said something like: "Raptors attacking an iguanadon would be like someone using naplam on a tank." I think that it would be more like using machine guns on a jeep. Also, I think that raptors COULD twist and swerve in mid air. Don't think that I thought that you were referring to me in the post, but I think that you have no idea what raptors were really like.
from JOE BOB B., age 10, Menlo Park, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Josh, a 5 foot tall raptor can not compete to a tyrannosaurus Rex, but compare them of the same size. Of course, T.rex is more deadly, but try albertosaurus, or something like alioramus, with slender knife teeth. Cut down on the hostility son. If raptors werent kickers, than they may have been something like baboons(highly carnivorous kind) or arboreal carnivores. But then comes things like Megaraptor and Utahraptor. What were they then. Just giant snacks? I doubt that. Too heavy to be arboreal also. Billy, waht you say about raptors, where did you get the info?
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Hmm...I'm not sure if the raptor were heavy hitters, they lack a serious amount of oral firepower. What a raptor would have done at best would be to give an animal a lot of shallow but wide lacerations, certainly not as "heavy" as a 3 foot wide, 4 foot long and 1.5 foot deep Tyrannosaurus bite.
from Josh, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Well, I do think that the raptors would have been extremely nasty to small prey like a bipedial primate like me, but they have the wrong type of tools for bringing down large animals! You can't just look at a raptor and see how much firepower it has and assume it could kill Iguanadon. It had all the wrong equipment! It had a serious lack of penetrating surgical equipment.

You knwo what, I think most people have an unrealistic view of the raptors, they think it to be too nasty.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


What do you mean by "clean"? Do you mean efficent or what? I donno, if the raptors did attack a Iguanadon, it would ahve been anything but fast and clean. They would have taken a long time (if they could) to bring down that 7 tonner by their slashing(if they could again) It would have been messy and cost the lives of a few raptors too. Given all that, I suppose a Tyrannosaurus coming in to kill its prey with a single shoveling bite would have been "faster" and "cleaner"

It also puzzles me that you can deduce so much about raptor behaviour from their bones, and be sure about it. If you ask me, Bill's deduction seems more rational and less "movie-logik"
from Josh, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


"Scum?" I don't think any type of survival behaviour an animal employs can be defined as "scum". Other than that, I tend agree with you.

Madhatter, you do have a few misconceptions to clean up, firstly, I'd like to establish that ganging up on somebody here is what I would define as "scum" and I would certainly not agree with it, nor take part in it. I hope you do absolve me of ganging up on you.

Secondly, I do have a reason for suggesting why Bill may be right that the raptors may not mave been "hard hitters". The answer tends to lie in their legs. Now, of all their equipment, its their sickle claw that tends to transfix us to "assume" that they would have used it to very deadily means in hunting instead. But, I would like to offically denounce that "fact" here.

Well, if you look at the legs of many kicking birds today, you'd notice that they tend to have extremely long tibia that are longer or at least the same length of their femurs. The reason is this allows their legs to draw on circular velocity to put up an incredible force while kicking. But raptors seem to have the opposite arrangment, they have extremely short tibia and conversely long femurs. This would have given them great acceleration, but would have also limited their maximum speed and their ability to kick. A modern day ostrich would have outkicked a Deinonychus antirrhopus anytime. Which is odd, considering that the best way for them to employ their sickle foot claws against big animals is to kick hard and open a wound. So waht were their claws for? Well, considering the idea that they may have been prey for larger carnivorous dinosaurs, the claw could have been a good deterent. The sickle claw was certainly useful for defence where you don't have to kill your attacker , but merely deter him from attacking, hence the non-need for a overly powerful kick. Those claws could ahve been useful for pinning down smaller animals in the same way that modern day raptors use their talons to. But considering the fact that they could not have POSSIBLY used their sickle claws in general offence tends to limit their firepower to their claws.

Also, jumping animals also have slender and long tibia and short femurs to optimize thier ability to leap, raptors have the opposite limb configuration. Whatever it was, they were not jumpers nor leapers. Their feet seemed to give them on-the-ground agility and acceleration, not extreme seed, kicking ability nor jump capacity. So that would have limited them to attacking with their formidibly equipped forelimbs. Formidible, but not as deadily as once presumed.

Also, I believe the term "compairative anatomy" has been badly misused by many paleontologists (I'm afraid even Bakker). The underlying premise of compairative anatomy by all my zoology textbooks is " similar in form, similar in function". A basic rule that seems to have been ignored by many paleontologists who lump raptors with modern day hunting cats. NO, they were NOT similar in form, nor function. If you choose to believe them, you're going by very poor scientific methods. The methods of hunting cats can never be linked to raptors, nor would I aliken their niche to hunting cats. One forgets that hunting cats do not have 6-ton superpredators to live around with. No, Madhatter, the cat-raptor link cannot and will not hold. Besides, cats don't attack primarily with their claws (which the raptors do) they do so with their well adapted canines. An adaption I have yet to see in a raptor. No, we cannot link raptors to cats, not if you want an accucrate and correct picture of them anyway.

What makes you so sure a Velociraptor could commonly bring down a Protoceratops anyway? Have we found evidence of predation of full grown Protoceratops adults by Velociraptor? (No, not the combat fossil!) No, we have not. Raptors seem to remind me of Johnny Rook, a modern raptor that behaves more like a crow than a falcon.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 7, 2001


Billy, raptors were heavy hitters in the same way cats are. Raptors could take anything from a shrew to something 35% larger(protoceratoprs). Seeing raptors as "scum" is simply JUST your opinion and what you wish. I dont show favoritism to any dinosaur, I love them all equally, but my top favs are Megalosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. Its just you fail to realize how nasty a raptor could be, thats what I dont like. What else I dont like is the grouping up and lack of respect for me. Just because Im new doesnt mean I dont know anything. Raptors were not like foxes or jackals or something in that area. They were most like cats, like cougars and such, not to mention comparative anatomy is used by most paleontologists and is used to help reconstruct the lives of all dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. Raptors were very deadly animals that were built for fast clean kills and ambush. Whether they did this alone or in groups, we will have to wait for more evidence. The only "scum" as you call it were troodontids, carnivorous reptiles and mammals and other small dinosaurs. I doubt iguanodon wouldve laughed a raptor off, but watched it carefully, in the nesting season. Now something like utahraptor wouldve been looked at differently.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 6, 2001


I differ from your view Mad Hatter, the raptors do seem to have alot of firepower for their size, but it seems to be more of the wrong type of firepower. For instance, you don't use naplam on tanks. I don't think its good to compair raptors with saber tooths as saber tooths rely more on precise application of massive localized damage to kill. They'll be pretty useless stabbing into the flanks of a pachyderm. If anything, the saber tooth's method of massive localized damage to a precise point seems to resemble more that of Tyrannosaurus than the raptors. Heavy claws? I don't think so, Hard hitters? Unlikely. You seem to have a skewed "superman" view of the raptors. Really, I do not think they jumped and swerved and kicked and slashed their prey to death. In jurassic park, maybe. The raptors seem to match more that of a small prey hunter, if you ask me, the low down scum that plundered the nest of other dinosaurs for the helpless young. That's a more realistic view of the raptors. A Iguanadon would probally laugh off a raptor attempt on its life the way an elephant laughs off cheetahs.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


I'd like to add further clearance on my post, what I'm trying to say is that the raptors could wound "terribly" but they could not wound "effectively". What's the point of giving an Iguanadon a lot of nasty gashes that will not bring him down? To bring down a large herbivore in those times, you need the smash-mouth tatics of Tyrannosaurus, not a series of sickle blades used to carve repeatedly away at your target.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


The Tenontosaurus you are refering to, a small subadult supposed to have been killed by the Deinonychus. Well, there are signs of another larger predator doing the job for them. Personally, that fossil also shows the wide and low density of bitemarks associated with scavenging. Chandeler, that fossil points to scavenging by Deinonychus, not hunting!
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


I share Honkie's view. As what Levine would say, a lot of our raptor ideas lack "null intergity" they appear to overlook alternative explinations and contradictory evidence. I also find it rather strange when people say that it was obvious the raptors were big prey hunters, but to all my knowledge of biology, the raptors don't seem to hold up well as big prey hunters.

Firstly, if your prey is going to be many times your mass, you do not have a prayer in hell of bringing it down simply by clawing and slashing at it. You'll have to strike precisely and at a weak spot, say a neck or something. Now, Saber-Toothed cats seemed to acomplisish this rather well by bringing down their prey by stabbing them in the neck with their fangs.

Now, if you ask me, raptors seem to lack the specialized equipment for bringing down large prey, as deadily as they might seem. They don't have any stabbing equipment or such. What they do have is slashing equipment. Which is ill-suited for killing big prey. Slashing repeatedly at a 5-ton herbivore will hardly bring it down. You need to apply a massive amount of damage to one area, which the raptors cannot do, even in numbers. Giving a herbivore a shallow gash will not do to kill it.

All in all, if I look at the raptor body plan, it seems anything BUT a hunter of big prey. It's easier to imagine raptors been drawn like flies to a stinking carcass of a 5-ton herbivore killed earlier by a larger dinosaur than to imagine them actually trying in their opuny ways to kill it. But what do you know, 70 millions years later, some overzealous paleontologist digs all this up and assumes that it was the raptors who did the job. What if we one day found a fossil of a gigantic sauropod with raptor bite marks on it, would we arrive at the same idea that the raptors killed it? I didn't think so. So yes, it seems to go against evidence and logic that the raptors were big prey hunters.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


I understand Chandeler, but what surprises me is why we say that that must have BEEN evidence of an attack. That could also have been scavenging of a already dead Tenontosaurus. What that could really consluvely prove pradatory behaviour is evidence of a miss or a failed attack. Now, we know that the raptors certainly did not have a 100 percent sucess rate in hunting, so given the 35 million years they've been around, we should be able to find alot of evidence of failed attacks on their supposed prey. What confuses me is why we find more evidence of attacks on large animals from T.Rex, a single species of Tyrannosaurid that has only been around for 5 million years. It amazes me when we say that finding shed teeth associated with the remains of an animal MUST have been evidence of an attack. Unhealed bite marks and shed teeth are hardly good evidence on thier own, we need more.

Maybe one day some person who stumbles across an elephant carcass with bite marks from a group of jackals, I wonder if he was going by the same logic, would he conclude that the jackals bought down the elephant? I hope you see my point. I don't want equivocal evidence -- not supporting or rejecting our hypotheses, I want somethiong more "solid."

To my knowledge there has been no such evidence, could you enlighten me?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


Honkie about your reply to my _Tenontosaurus_ v. _Deinonychus_ post...
The fossil evidence I was talking about did show injury marks to the _Tenontosaurus_ and ONLY teeth were discovered, no _Deinonychus_ skeletons. That means the predators only lost teeth during the attack, and perhaps not their lives. I'm not saying that _Deinonychus_ always hunted this way or anything like that, I'm only giving facts. _Tenontosaurus_ skeletons have been discovered with other dead _Deinonychus_, so maybe both sides of the argument are correct.

from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


Honkie about your reply to my _Tenontosaurus_ v. _Deinonychus_ post...
The fossil evidence I was talking about did show injury marks to the _Tenontosaurus_ and ONLY teeth were discovered, no _Deinonychus_ skeletons. That means the predators only lost teeth during the attack, and perhaps not their lives. I'm not saying that _Deinonychus_ always hunted this way or anything like that, I'm only giving facts. _Tenontosaurus_ skeletons have been discovered with other dead _Deinonychus_, so maybe both sides of the argument are correct.

from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


Sorry Mad Hatter, but I don't buy that suggestion. Well, T.Rex was probally at the top of its food chain anywhere it went. And I certainly think it would be pretty stupid not to eat any carrion if it came across it. Another thing, what I do find puzzling is that most people assume that the raptors do not scavenge, which I find odd. If you ask me, raptors probally scavenged as much as T.Rex. About T.Imperator, I'd prefer to put it under "Tyrannosaurid" we're still not sure if it was a rex or another subspecies. "Imperator" came from a place well know for extra-sized rexes, so there is a probability it might be T.Rex. The problem with imperator was that its pretty well buried. But currently, Horner has found and is currently excavating 5 comfirmed T.Rex specimens that are "Imperator" sized. So I figure there is a probability that T.Imperator might be a T.Rex.

About the raptors taking down big prey once again, I hardly find a strong case for it. We can't deduce what the raptor ate just by looking at the skeleton, that's indirect. What I'm looking for is evidence of failed attacks on large prey. A lodged tooth in a hip or something. This is odd, considering that the raptors have been around much longer than T.Rex, we should have found more evidence of failed attacks than we do in T.Rex. So far, no signs of failed attacks by raptors have been found. So you can see why the big prey argument is wearing thin. About Tyrannosaurus being a hunter, well, I was intrugied by Leonard's description of a defensive bite, the damaged Edmontodsaur tail and best, a T.Rex tooth fragment stinking out of a Edmontosaur hip. I guess this pretty much proves T.Rex as much a hunter/scavenger today as the modern day lion.

Now, lets look at the smaller raptors, the Velociraptors, I figure many people tell you that Protoceratops was pretty much common prey for Velociraptor, but once again, evidence of healed failed attacks is totally absent. Before you mention that Protoceratops VS Velociraptor fossil, one must note that we are looking for predation, not fights to the death. Now, not finding any evidence of Velociraptor preying on Protoceratops (which is about 4 times their mass) proves pretty conclusively that Velociraptor did not take on prey bigger than themselves, why? Because Protoceratops fossils are extremely common. Had they been common prey to Velociraptor, we would have found plenty of healed attacks by now.

What we do find is evidence that Velociraptor was preying on the Protoceratops young, we do have evidence of Velociraptor plundering Protoceratops nests. So this proves pretty well that Velociraptors were not big prey hunters?

How does this carry onto bigger raptors? Well, it does. Considering the fact that the bigger raptors (safe for Utaraptors) were not too much bigger, and bringing down prey which is 300 times their mass, inspires a streach of the imagination. If a Velociraptor does not prey on a Protoceratops just four times its size, would a bigger raptor manage a herbivore 300 tiems its size? The herbivores were by no means weak too. Ever see a roedo? Yep, those raptors must have been spent alot of their attention to holding onto a rearing and buckling 5-ton animal to avoild been thrown off and injured, let alone kill it. If you ask me, the raptors were no super-killers, they were probally only slightly deadiler than other small carnivorous dinosaurs of their size. Big prey? I don't see how. For such a big theory, there is a awful dirth of hard evidence. We do know T.Rex regulary too down Trikes and Hardosaurs as we find lots of evidence of missed attacks. But for the raptors, we have none. No smoking gun evidence. Which I find odd, should I choose to believe in the big prey theory. These were normal predators anyway, not some superdeadily movie monster.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


Thanx honkie for answering some questions. Anyway, Im not talking about the hip, but pubic bones, not the primary hip or pelvis itself. What does current evidence say about the head? The lion and elephant thing is very true, if all the megafauna was still intact in Africa, lions would very rarely kill things like elephants and cape buffalo. Thats where the "sabertooths" come in. There were built to tackle thses kind of animals, like buffalo, young elephants, hippos, possible giraffes, etc. Raptors of the cretaceous time dont look suited enough for prey that big, except something about still bothers me. They were heavy hitters who hit you fast and hard. Those giant claws and the ability to move about and jump fairly quick. No doubt they took animals their own size or heavier thant themselves. TYrannosaurus was a oppurtunists. If there was dead food, well they wouldnt hunt, but if there wasnt much carrion, they could hunt. But remember Honkie, T.rex had to be fast(for a carnosaur) and had teeth and a mouth like that probably to gulp hunks fast, remember, T.Rex was in somebody's shadow(T.Imperator) who was probably like the short faced bear in his ways, the "bully and clean up man" as I like to put it. Carnosaurs probably most suited to large prey was megalosaurs and allosaurs. They were sauropod killers, while T.Rex was isolated in Laurasia with ceratopsians and giant duckbills. They were equal and occupied the same niche, just dealing with different prey.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 5, 2001


Might I propose, what I do think Honkie Tong is trying to say is that "raptors" if ever, very rarely attacked big prey. I hardly think elephants make up even 5 percent of the adverage lions diet. Lions weren't well suited to hunt elephants, which is why they do it rarely, only uner situtations of extreme stress or when a situtation permits them to try. But what I see here is that BBD is trying to make it appear like its NORMAL and COMMON for lions to hunt elephants, which I believe is not true. Elephants actually have little to fear from lions, under normal conditions, which I suspect is the case for the raptors.

But once again, I'm misusing the principal of uniformanity. Not good scientific procedure. I propose that its UNLIKELY for raptors to hunt big prey. Not to mention that we've yet little solid evidence to show or to make a strong case for it. It's just a popular, untested theory. Of course, we don't even have prove that they did hunt in packs or groups at all. One must notice that we must take a hardcore and unromatic approach to fossils as we are dealing with very little evidence here. To say that a smallish dinosaur with sickle claws banded together to hunt down animals three hundred times their mass is standing very far out on the limb of speculation indeed. One must note that mother nature is often more conservative then us when it comes to predation. As of yet, there's still no direct evidence to even prove active predation of big prey for the "raptors". Un un, don't mention lions again, we need facts to back up our theories, not base it on modern day models. Remember, uniformity cannot apply to biology. Don't mix it up with compairative anatomy, comapirative anatomy speculates on the behaviour of animals based on their form, not their niche. Anyway, its unlikely "raptors" filled the lions niche, even less they do NOT resemble lions. It wouldn't be good to use compairative anatomy to link lions and raptors. In fact, it cannot be done.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


Well, I am certain that Jack Horner is wrong abotu T.rex being a scavenger, if that's what you want to know.

I think you already know about the famous Edmondosaur skeleton with the busted tail, so I'll tell you the story of a Triceratops skull that shows a Tyrannosaurus actively involved in a defensive manuver to avoid being gored.

Now, this skull in question is the skull of a Triceratops will a huge chunk taken out of it. Now before you say this is a scavenging bite, note that this was a one off chunk, there were no other bites to the skull of this Triceratops which would indicate scavenging. Besides, why would a scavenging Tyrannosaur bite the head of a Trike that has almost no meat anyway?

Now, a theory has been posed as a alternative to the scavenging the triceratops theory. It proposes a defensive theory:

Now, I suppose it's my prerogative to offer a hypothetical rationale for a Tyrannosaurus rex frontally biting a Triceratops on the face. First, I recognize that any answer here is, at best, a guess on my part, and that I am not particularly qualified to respond. Okay, now on to wild speculation...

Suppose that the tyrannosaur were pursuing the ceratopian, and, in a
conventional defensive behavior, the well-armed ceratopian saw the theropod coming and turned to face the attacker, lunging forward with its horns. What, then, might the tyrannosaur do to avoid being gored by the horns? I would speculate that the tyrannosaur might bite into the face of the ceratopian, and bite down hard (with the capability of delivering more force than the weight of a pickup truck with each of its robust,bone-crushing teeth). In this way, the tyrannosaur could hold off the horns and beak, and also, perhaps, give the ceratopian such a jolt that, upon the release of its head, the quadruped would turn tail and try to escape, or at least back off. This would give the tyrannosaur an opportunity to back away from the ceratopian's business end. It would also give the theropod an opening to either launch another assault or retreat and try to find easier prey.

So you see, the face-biting incident suggested by the Triceratops skull may, in fact, reflect a principally defensive as opposed to offensive strike. I suspect that a tyrannosaur would prefer to bite a ceratopian anywhere but on the head, but on the other hand, I would think that the tyrannosaur might well use its teeth on the ceratopian's face in a desperate effort to defend itself against being gored. Well, that's just my theory.

But you must note that it's real hard to prove either way, but maybe this specimen might tell us that Tyrannosaurus was more of a agile and deadiley hunter as we though.
from Leonard, age 12, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


Is Jack Horner right about T.Rex?
from Miline, age ?, Milan, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


One more thing people. its spelt TENONTOSAURUS. Not Tentosaurus.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


MOR682? You are refering to the Tendontosaurus right?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


Good point BBD, that's why lions RARELY (if ever) hunt elephants. There are incredible risks and benifits from taking on prey bigger than you. A single kill would give the entire pack food for two weeks, despite the risks of being killed. So why couldn't the raptors do it? But wait! Isn't four deaths for a kill in a pack a particually big blow? I mean I don't see one elephant take down four lions before going down. More likely, those raptors did not die in a struggle wih the Tentosaur remains again. Also, even when they had made a big kill, one must remember they are not at the top of the food chain, a bigger terepod with keen smell and hearing (aka.T.Rex) would easily move in and chase the raptors away from their hard earned kill. So why risk life and limb for a kill you have no assurance of keeping? There are a few explainations:

1. Prehaps the raptors were not really that smart.
2. That's why they wnet extinct.
3. Or prehaps they did not hunt big prey at all!

All in all, I think the big game theory has a lot going against it. It's an exciting theory, but I don't think its biologically sound. As Levine would say, it lacks the NULL. Use the null. One more thing, can anybody offer an explination why the Tentosaur remains were more weathered than the raptor remains. If they had died at the same time, you'd expect both of them to show the same level of river action and decomposition on the bones. (River action is the work of the river on a carcass) Chances are, the herbivore died eariler and had been travelling along the river for some time, decomposing in the moist conditions. Phew! What a smell. That would have drawn the raptors like komodo dragons to a dead goat.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


Once again, I'd like to add that the scientific community admits that there is no solid evidence to support pack-hunting or predation from specimen MOR682. There are just many loose ends. What I've realized is that our view of MOR682 is over-simplified and not well though out. Given the bad shape of the Tentosaur remains (weathered and fragmentory) and the good shape of the Dromaeosaurid remains,(relatively intact), it is my guess that the Tentosaurus had already died eariler and was carried by a river to a place where the Dromaeosaurids scavenged on it. Prehaps a few got killed in a squabble for food (not very likely) or got trapped in a natural tar pit/quicksand or something and died. Whatever it was, a closer look at the fossils seems to disprove active predation.
from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


I disagree with you assertion Chandler, there were no localized bite marks on the Tentosaurus which would indicate an attack. Instead, you get the bite marks of a post-morterm feeding session, well spread out in density. It just doesnt figure. Besides, the associated raptor remains show four, which I agree it's a astonishingly high death rate for a kill theory to hold. Not to mention its a subadult Tentosaurus. If they really were hunting the Tentosaurus, I have no idea why they did it if it was so blatantly sucide. In short, there is no solid evidence to show predation at all. The raptors were more likely feeding post morterm and later died of some other causes.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


I do agree that its hard to prove either way round, as we're dealing with very indirect evidence here. Most rex skeletons are fragmented and chervons have been rare. But oddly enough, they have both been found on fragilis and robustus. So either the chervons have been mistakenly identified or that both species did not have a chervon at all. Anyway, the theory bout' females being bigger could still hold as new T.rex finds indicate rexes 10percent larger than Sue. There's this special place in Montana well-known for extra-sized Tyrannosaurids.

Anyway, yes, the shape of the hip does change with your stance. If you have a improved stance compaired to a crocidile, you're going to have a different hip shape. Besides, I know its good to compair T.rex to a croc, but wouldn't a large flightless bird be better?
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


That was just a joke. But anyway, my point is, its understandable if one dromie brought it, but four? That would have been a great blow to a pack (if there was one) Not to mention that Tentosaurus was only a subadult, at about 60percent adult size. Also, the dromie remains showed no signs of truma. Also, the Tentosaurus remains appear more badly abraded compaired to the dromie remains, which means that it had been carried by a river for some time. Whatever it was, the Tentosaurus had been dead for some time and if the dromies did eat it, they were scavenging. Once again, MOR682 shows no signs of predation at all.
from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


To add to this "raptor" hunting discussion: a _Tenontosaurus tilletorum_ skeleton was also discovered with _Deinonychus antirrhopus_ teeth among the bones. That means the _Deinonychus_ either ate the already dead carcass of the _Tenontosaurus_ and lost their teeth or hunted and killed it. The latter seems more likely.
from Chandler, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


Well, you find dire wolves and sabertooth cats in mass around prey. In case of the deinonychs, who knows what the disaster was, and where did you get the "tenontosaurus had gone bad" from? Of course predator vs. prey, predators dont fight till death, but accidents do happen. Lions get jaws smashed, gored, stomped, crushed, thrown and slammed(especially when hunting elephants). It all happens time and again. So what evidence do you have to back up your disagreement? And where did you get it from?
from BBD, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


Well Honkie, though popular thought may hate it, there was some evidence of a chevron found with robustus, and sure T.Rex couldve had the same egg laying equipment. You see almost the very same type of hips and pubes of rauisuchians match those of spinosaurs, ceratosaurs, etc. I know your saying the pubes is not the same, and your absolutely right, but tyrannosaurus doesnt have the same pubes, its JUST the space and scars and for your "egg laying equipment". I like that one more because its similar to a crocs, who are very very close to dinosaurs.

The reason for your theory is the fact that the gap between the ischia and tail vertebrae is wider in fragilis than robustus.

This shows we both agree on different theories both forged by facts. So were stuck with (1.) A gap(possibly for egglaying) in robustus (2.) A femine sexual system just like a crocodilians in fragilis. When it comes to fragilis, your not talking the illium and ischium and pubic boot, but just the space that isnt pressured much upon, for recieving the penis and laying eggs and so forth. I just think since its just the sexual system that is so much like a crocodilians(and remember not all crocodilians were semi-erect walkers either) and that is fact compared to the fact of a gap that MAY HAVE been female sexual equipment, well I dont know. Its 2 theories that still stand strong. Where did you find the argument that the croc theory couldnt hold up cuz of the walking styles??? I wanna see that.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 3, 2001


Apart from social insects and humans, animals do not throw their lives away attacking each other. In either case, I can imagine one unlucky Deinonychus getting killed, but any more would be astonishing.

Animals generally only fight to the death when trapped, or sometimes
when defending their young. You could have the various dinosaurs
falling into a sinkhole or something (and being forced to fight), but
I don't think there's any evidence of that at the site.

Another more prosaic explanation to add to the list is that the
Tenontosaurus carcass had gone bad, and the Deinonychus died of food
poisoning. Call me unromantic if you like.

from Billy Macdraw, age 18, ?, ?, ?; January 2, 2001


I actually considered this. But to me, admittedly an amateur, I can't understand why, if the Deinonychus' WERE killed during a joint attack, they would have even attempted such a hunt if it were to be so
obviously dangerous. Are we perhaps seeing evidence of desperation due to a famine, or inexperience? Are there signs on the Tenontosaur's bones that the animals HAD been feeding (I have no idea), or is this a chance grouping of corpses brought together by, say, a flood? Heck, for that matter, could these have been scavengers of a dead corpse (perhaps killed by a larger predator) that
were caught in a flash flood? I suppose that the possibilities are endless.

Anyway, regardless of how these animals came to rest together, I do see this as a remarkably fascinating find that opens a window, however currently unclear, on life at this particular time.

Have a great week!
from Josh, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 2, 2001


It sounds like you really like dromaeosaurids, especially Deinonychus
(who wouldn't?), and I think you've convinced yourself that pack
behavior in these animals is inevitable. I am a graduate student now
working on my Ph.D. You've probably been interested in dinosaurs for
a while (I'm guessing) and I know when I was 17 (I'm 25 now) it seemed
that a lot of the scientific community were way to conservative and
hardnosed when it came to interpreting dinosaur behavior.

First of all, it's good to see you've put some thought into this, but
it's hard to really know what is going on with specimens unless you
actually see them in three dimensions, or visit certain dinosaur
localities, etc. I'm not suggesting you haven't done this, but my
guess would be that most of your exposure to dinosaur data has been in museum displays and perhaps you've participated as a volunteer on
dig?

Let me tell you, from my own experience with sauropod dinosaurs, that
you can look at hundreds of photographs and illustrations and still
not really understand what is going on with a fossil animal until you actually hold the thing in your own hands, turn it around, look at it
from various angles, measure it, etc.

And of course, these animals, no matter how alive they are in your
head, are very much dead. We only have a very narrow amount of
information available to us, because these animals first had to die,
their carcasses had to "survive" scavenging, their remains had to be
buried fast (and only in certain sediments at that), the remains have
to fossilized, the remains can become distorted, then they erode out,
someone has to catch them at the right moment, not all the bones are
collected, their remains are brought to a collection, they're
prepared, and then finally a paleontologist can begin to really look
at the bones and describe them!

So, with that in mind, there are more things to consider. We cannot
(although wouldn't it be awesome if we could?) observe living
dinosaurs doing their things. We have to collect extremely indirect
evidence, and in most cases it is equivocal -- not supporting or
rejecting our hypotheses. But let's examine your hypothesis ...

When we come up with a hypothesis in science, we try to phrase so
that we are likely to REJECT it. Once you have an idea you really
like (I know I have a few about dinosaurs myself), it is very easy to
find evidence to confirm, at least to yourself, that you're right.
But we want to try to get rid of our own personal biases as much as we
can. Otherwise, we might overlook or subconsciously ignore
contradictory or vague evidence.

So, we could start out setting up a hypothesis like this:
Dromaeosaurids did not hunt in packs to bring down big prey like
Tenontosaurus. We would call this your null hypothesis. Then we set
up a different, or alternative, hypothesis like this: Dromaeosaurids
did hunt in packs to bring down big prey like Tenontosaurus. In every
case where the evidence is equivocal or vague, we fall back on the
NULL hypothesis.

Let's look then at the Tenontosaurus situation.

Evidence 1: Deinonychus and Tenontosaurus are both known from the
Cloverly Formation. Of course, just because two animals are found in
the same locality doesn't mean that they interacted with each
significantly. We fail to reject our null hypothesis here.

Evidence 2: There are teeth of Deinonychus present with Tenontosaurus
remains at more than 16 sites in the Cloverly. Okay, we have teeth
associated with this big herbivore. But here are some things to
consider. The teeth may have been shed during an attack, but there is
no evidence at any of these sites to outright reject the possibility
that these Dromaeosaurids were just being opportunistic scavengers.
The teeth could just as easily be shed by scavenging theropods as well
as actively predating ones. Hmmm ... looks like we can't be sure
again, so we fall back on our null hypothesis again.

Evidence 3: Some specimens of Tenontosaurus appear to have bite marks
in the bones and are also associated with Deinonychus teeth. Great!
Irrefutable evidence, right! But, wait! Who made the bites? How do
we know that another dinosaur, or even something like an alligator,
didn't make the bites? We don't. It's really tough to match up teeth
marks with dinosaur jaws, because teeth can slip, or not penetrate in
certain areas, or any other number of problems. And even if we were
to show that indeed Deinonychus or another dromaeosaurid bit the
Tenontosaurus, it wouldn't tell us whether the bite was made during an
attack or as a scavenging mark. Too bad, but it looks like we have to
fall back on our null hypothesis again.

Evidence 4: Tenontosaurus is too big for one dromaeosaurid to handle.
Pack hunting was obviously necessary to bring them down. Well, okay,
but this assumes that Deinonychus had pack instincts, something we
can't directly observe. Plus, maybe once a Tenontosaurus got big
enough, it was left alone. Maybe if Deinonychus was a pack hunter, it
attack juvenile Tenontosaurs. And, it turns out, a subadult
Tenontosaurus MOR 682 at the Museum of the Rockies was found in close
association with 11 shed Deinonychus teeth. The skeleton appears to
have ripped apart pretty good by some dinosaurs and perhaps this
indicates that many Deinoychus were employing pack tactics to bring
this smaller guy down. Or, this smaller guy was killed by a bigger
theropod and then scavenged by Deinonychus. Or, this smaller guy died
of other causes and was later consumed by Deinonychus. And even if
these animals didn't have pack behavior, they could be drawn to a
stinking carcass like vultures. So again, our evidence is equivocal.
We fall back on our null hypothesis yet again.

Well, we could go on like this for a long time, but I hope you see
the point I'm trying to make. As scientists, we are duty-bound to be
skeptical of every new (or even not so new) claim until we find
evidence that positively supports that claim, or hypothesis. And
remember, every hypothesis and theory in science, in order to be
scientific, has have these four qualities: 1) It has to be testable;
2) It must be repeatable by other researchers; 3) It must be
falsifiable; and 4) It should have predictive power.

Science is a tough business, and paleontology is extra hard because
we don't have as much control over the evidence as do some
experimental scientists. Even though it would be awesome if theropods
hunted in organized packs, dispatching hadrosaurs and sauropods left
and right with cool, calculated efficiency, we just don't have enough
positive evidence to say, definitely, yes this is what happened.

But this is where you come into the picture. How badly do you really
want to know and see and touch the real evidence? Maybe there's
something the scientific community is missing, or hasn't considered,
or hasn't looked at, or who knows? New technology may come along to
help us address questions we can't even fathom answering or even
asking now. If you want to become a paleontologist, maybe you can put
your mind toward figuring out just what the behavior of dromaeosaurid
theropods was like. It will take a lot of math, anatomy, physiology,
ecology, behavioral studies, geology, and even more determination and
perserverance. And maybe after all that you will still not know the
whole story. That's the risk but that's also your chance to possibly
change the way we currently look at theropod behavior.

Finally, I should add that some of the information above I got from
the following sources. It's important, where ever possible, to give
credit to previous researchers, even if you don't agree with their
conclusions. Good luck with your question, and feel free to ask more.
On this list, we can't always return responses right away (most of us
our very busy with our research, teaching, and other stuff) but don't
be discouraged. At the very least, use the library frequently and
always look for evidence that does not confirm your ideas.

from Levine, age 25, ?, ?, ?; January 2, 2001


Prehaps I do have a probalm with pack hunting, but its a biolgical misnomer. Only certain primates and dogs have been known to pack hunt. Pack hunting requires behavioural organized and stragety, something that is lacking in all other animal that hunt socially. Lions are not as organized, there method is more like "the more chasers, the higher the chances of sucess are". So true pack hunting behavoiur is something very rare indeed in the animal world. It's highly probabble that if the raptors did hunt in groups, it was more like a mob, not a pack.

But the energy/risk equation dosen't seem to hold up, why attack a big animal 500 times your mass and risk getting killed instead of taking on smaller animals? Even in groups, predators have rarely if every attacked animals more than ten times their mass. Note that even a group of 10 raptors will not outweight a Iguanadon. The Iguanadon will still be 50 times heavier. Unless each raptor has the firepower to bring down animals 50 times their weight...lets just say that its not in their intreast to hunt big prey. In fact, its ridiculus!
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 2, 2001


Thanks for you concern, but really, everything is under control. T.Rex wasn't really my fave until I discovered more about it recently. What I found made T.Rex my favourite. T.Rex the predator, pack hunter. Note that finding many animals together does not implicate pack behaviour at all. It could have been a sign of some other social siginifance. Like a water hole or a graveyard. You see, there are literally many other ways of drawing your conclusions from the fossils you find, but the most definate evidence of pack hunting would be to find the prey remains associated with the predators. Before you mention that Tentosaurus remains, I must remind you that latest studies show that the Tentosaurus was more badly abraded than the raptor remains, which shows that it died eariler and got carried by a river to the site where we found it. In short, if the raptors were dining, they were scavenging. Now, what about the raptor remains? How did they die? Well, we do not know, but whatever it was, it was not in a struggle with prey. Those remains were pretty "clean", no signs of a fight. If all, there has been no evidence to show pack behaviour at all. Social prehaps, but many predators do have a social life, but do not hunt in packs. Trace fossils are more reliable. But all raptor tracks found so far only indicate solitary behaviour. See, I am moving by the facts, not favourism. I like T.Rex, but I prefer not to let that get in the way of the truth. The truth is, (based on evidence) he was provbally smarter and faster than the smaller raptors.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 2, 2001


I let everyone cool off for now. About this group forcing the idea that I believe about the raptors, they were more built for fast hard quick kills. I believe some did move in packs and others didnt. Like cats, dogs and mongoose. Not to mention deinonychus was found in a group, JUST LIKE T.Rex and Giganotosaurus. Well....I still think honkie tong is too obsessed with T.rex. I dont have anything against you man, just favoritism is wrong in science when it comes to discussion. There should be no favorites.
from MadHatter, age ?, ?, ?, ?; January 2, 2001


Well, it looks like everybody is finally in, happy new year, century and millennium everyone! You only get this thing once every thousand years, so I thought it should recieve mention here.
from Honkie Tong, age 16, ?, ?, ?; January 1, 2001


One more thing, Car you could also thell 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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