So, uh, what do we know about prion diseases in birds and crocodylians?
I remember, as a pre-adolescent obsessed with becoming a dinosaur paleontologist, reading Jack Horner’s book on T. rex and being appalled at his hypothesis that the animal was primarily a scavenging feeder, not a hunter. It insulted my imagination, especially considering that imagination had been fueled up until that point by the writings or Robert Bakker.
But as I got older, and the idea sat with me longer, the more sense it seemed to make. The landscape must have been all but littered with these enormous carcasses–and before you get down to the small scavenging mammals, carrion bugs, and microbes… there must have been some species taking advantage of the free meat. Something huge with strong jaws that could dismantle a corpse at the macro level, breaking through all that tough hide and making it more readily processed by the smaller scavengers.
I haven’t read up on the subject much in the past decade, and I’m sure they’ve got some new evidence, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Tyrannosaurs (which could not have been the most stealthy things on earth) spent most of their time feeding on what was already dead and readily available. It’s a niche that sort of stopped existing when dinosaurs died out. I know they were followed by some enormous mammalian herbivore species, and maybe if human beings hadn’t come along with their cutting tools and strategic brains there would have evolved some other large carnivore that excelled at carcass clean-up in the same style as T. rex: by being huge and imposing, staking a claim on a dead animal or taking another predator’s kill by sheer bullying.
It’d be canny embarrassing to die at the hands of a Tyrannosaur. Teeth, aye, OK.
Holy cow, whoever is keeping the time machine secret, now is the time to cash in. Who among us who was ever a little boy wouldn’t pay top dollar to watch T. Rex dining upon T. Rex? Lots of former little girls probably agree, but I never played dinosaurs with them so I can’t swear.
I think attributing much in the way of ‘intent’ to a lizard is a mistake of anthropomorphism.
I saw a documentary about it once. It wasn’t pretty.
I’d advise avoiding caravans/mobile trailers.
the terrible lizard, of course!
Do you feel comfortable ascribing intent to a bird?
Not exactly megafauna, but wolverines do fit the bill pretty well, along with hyenas.
Not, as I said, ‘much’, when I spoke to the tendency to ascribe human motives to animals with smaller and functionally different brains.
I also don’t expect bird/lizard/dinosaur brains to respect nuance much, either.
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