[extropy-chat] big fierce animals

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Tue Oct 25 02:28:29 UTC 2005

A while back I read _Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare_ by Paul Colinvaux, an

I had a thought when I heard of this title.  If
one thinks of carnivorous dinosaurs is tempting 
to imagine that bigger is always better: they 
can devour more kinds of beasts, run faster, 
etc.  But if one imagines scaling upward linearly,
the strength of the muscles increases as the square
of the linear dimension, whereas the moment of
inertia of the body increases as the fifth
power of the linear dimension.  Result: the 
bigger the dinosaur, the slower he can react.

An ecological niche for smaller carnivores 
becomes apparent.  They could be built with
a relatively small but powerful jaw like a
pit bull and a short but heavily muscled 
neck.  The relatively small carnivore could
make its living by running past a large
carnivore and ripping a hunk of flesh out
of the big guy's leg, then running off with
that one bite before the larger carnivore
could react.  Do you suppose this is how
velociraptor velocirapted?


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