[extropy-chat] big fierce animals

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Tue Oct 25 04:25:40 UTC 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Emlyn
> Sent: Monday, October 24, 2005 8:47 PM
> To: ExI chat list
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] big fierce animals
> On 25/10/05, spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
> > A while back I read _Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare_ by Paul Colinvaux,
> an
> > ecologist.
> >
> >
> > ...  Result: the
> > bigger the dinosaur, the slower he can react.
> You can get very small carnivores, probably for exactly this reason...
> >
> > An ecological niche for smaller carnivores
> > becomes apparent. ...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?
> >
> > spike
> A specialisation of chewing only on predators is probably a pretty
> tough one to carry off. But as a partial strategy it probably
> happened, especially to wounded large predators.
> --
> Emlyn

Ja I could have stated my argument more carefully.  I
meant to suggest that this might cause an upper practical
limit to the size of a predator so that it does not
continue to accumulate only advantages with size.  The
small carnivore could be taking chunks of flesh out of 
large herbivores too; in fact this would likely be much
safer than going around biting Mr. T-rex.

I got the idea from watching videos of feeding 
orcas.  They swim alongside a much larger blue whale, 
biting chunks out of the hapless beast.  The orca's jaw, 
neck and teeth are adapted for tearing out hunks of what
must be very tough flesh.  The larger the whale, the
more tempting it must be to a bunch of hungry 
orcas.  Could this put a practical limit on the size 
of a whale?  

The principle here is that the dinosaur's world seems
to have had approximatly analogous ecological niches
to those which can be observed in the animal kingdom
today.  It should not surprise us that this would happen.


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