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 Paleoecology

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Diamondback
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PostSubject: Paleoecology   Fri 13 Jul 2012, 11:19 pm

An interesting thing about fossilized creatures is that we can infer their biological niches from resemblances to modern creatures. While such conjecture may be inaccurate, it is compelling anyway and quite entertaining to make.

For example:
The skull of Dilophosaurus wethirilli exhibits a strange "hooked" curve on the upper jaw, similar to that of a garial. While this may mean that it scavenged, such a hook seems to be most efficient for catching fish. Left unexplained, however, was the Dilophosaurus' large size and crests. Another popular opinion is that it was a scavenger. Popular culture has painted it as a venom-spitting creature with a frill. The popular image is wrong, however, on three points:
1: No evidence of the bone needed to support a stiff frill has ever been found.
2: No evidence of venom glands has ever been found. (No depressions in skulls, no hollow jawbone ares, etc.)
3: Dilophosaurus was actually quite sizable, growing to two meters in height and and around nine meters in length.

Does anyone else care to infer?

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Sun 30 Sep 2012, 5:35 pm

If an organism has hollow bones, it would be safe to say they're related to birds in some way. Evolution hasn't gone so far that distant relatives are impossible to tell apart, so we can still look at the skulls and other bones and anatomy parts of dinosaurs and can tell they're part lizard or related to birds in whatever way.

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Sun 30 Sep 2012, 9:18 pm

I think the strange one I heard about was Tyrannosaurs Rex was actually a scavenger, not a predator. Apparently some scientists said the roots of its teeth were not deep enough to allow them to tear their prey item to shreds, then feed on them. They had to scavenge food and stuff.

I personally do not really see that. That is just me. It could have scavenged too, sure, but I cannot see it as a singular scavenger, it is so large it would have to eat a loooot of meat, and often, I am sure. So it had to make kills, but I am sure it also just ate what it found as well, taking the opportunity. Like lions, they hunt and take down prey, but are fine stealing a kill from something else if it is fresh enough. But that is any predator. I dunno where the whole Rex-Scavenger theory is now, but seemed weird to me. I cannot see such a large super predator being a singular scavenger.

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Sun 30 Sep 2012, 10:15 pm

I heard they were opportunists. They ate whatever they came across and when they couldn't find anything around, they hunted. Likely something that posed no threat. I wouldn't be surprised really, since hunting with a body that massive would take up a lot of energy, hauling all that weight around. I also assume they probably avoided large predators, or anything large in general. A lone wolf never takes on dangerous prey.

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Sun 30 Sep 2012, 10:57 pm

I would say they were more like bears. Easily capable of killing, but they would number one first choice rather scavenge.

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 12:34 am

But bears are omnivorous. They eat berries and junk more often than they eat meat that they found or killed.

Mynpoint isnit is much simpler for a bear to scavenge because it will eat plant matter which is more commonlynfound than a dead animal. Unless you are near a highway, but that would be suicidal.

A rex would definitely need to scavenge because it would likely run off half the calories it gains chasing down its smaller than self prey. To scare off a smaller predator and steal its kill would use less energy and much more likely to be made. The problem comes in with my assumption that the ecosystem in the wild is like it was some thousand years ago and how it relatively is today. A rex would never be able to support its diet by being territorial. My theory is they stalked large herds of slow moving dinosaurs and took a kill some times and others it got the ones that fell ill or behind.

Now. About your frilly spitting dino. It is assumed that the stuff it spits is toxic and is launched from venom things. I would like to submit that its mucus was toxic and such, and like a llama or alpaca spits its stomach acid stuff as a sort of deterrent/paralysis thing.

The frills? No idea. They could just be a sort of heat sink, except the otherway around, because it would make no sense for a cold blooded animal to have a heatsink?

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 12:56 am

The frills on the dilphosaurus are likely heat sinks, colorful pieces of skin used in mating, or used to scare away hostile critters, much like a rattlesnake and its rattle.

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 9:29 am

Balu that's if we're going by them being cold blooded. Dinosaurs are often believed to be warm blooded or a mix somehow. /contributive

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 5:08 pm

The Grouch wrote:
The frills on the dilphosaurus are likely heat sinks, colorful pieces of skin used in mating, or used to scare away hostile critters, much like a rattlesnake and its rattle.
I don't mean the ones on the top of its head, I mean the fictional neck frill.
And the fictional venom.

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 5:33 pm

Yes, so was I. Like I said, it's most likely just for flashy display to scare hostile animals.

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PostSubject: Re: Paleoecology   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 1:00 am

The Grouch wrote:
I heard they were opportunists. They ate whatever they came across and when they couldn't find anything around, they hunted. Likely something that posed no threat. I wouldn't be surprised really, since hunting with a body that massive would take up a lot of energy, hauling all that weight around. I also assume they probably avoided large predators, or anything large in general. A lone wolf never takes on dangerous prey.

Exactly, that I agree with. But the morons trying to say they were only scavengers, I just think really now, so basically it was a giant vulture that only ate kills from other predators? I just could not see something that large only being a scavenger. An opportunistic predator to me better describes them.

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