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December 8, 2012
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Hello Fellow Dino-lovers,  today I have another topic inspired by a journal I've recently read on here this morning. The journal talked about that theropods didn't hunt in coordinated packs, but more a group of Komodo dragons. While the journal had some good points, I feel that it missed entirely about which dinosaurs leaned toward the "coordinated" and "mobster" styles. I will praise them for looking at fossil evidence, however I do not believe that they looked at evolutionary and comparative evidence. Here's my arguments that advanced theropods were the "prototype" for coordinated pack hunting:

1) Brain to Body ratios: In tyrannosaurs and deinonychisaurs, cranial endocasts show that their brains were in the lower avian to medium avian range in terms of complexity, similar to vultures and ratites. This means that they possibly have enough intelligence to coordinate basic plans in attack. Now compare to earlier theropods like allosaurs and coelophysisids (which group remains have been found). The earlier species have brains were in the medium to higher reptile range of brain complexity (not bad for the time), and were most similar to crocodiles and monitor lizards. It seems that these were more likely to be just predators coming together to the site of a kill trying to "mob" it.

2) Social Behavior Evolution: As dinosaurs evolved, their fossils show an increase in various means of social adaptations from herding to cranial crests and to possible pack hunting. This means, as the dinosaurs evolved, their social behavior became much more complex. In theropods, Late Cretaceous species were socially more complex than their Late Jurassic counterparts as they evolved closer to the avian lineage. Many types of birds are social, and there are some predatory birds who do hunt in pack. Vultures when deprived of carcasses will hunt small to medium sized game. Though their hunting behavior isn't as coordinated as wolves or hyenas, they are still more coordinated than crocodiles or Komodo dragons. Perhaps the "prototype" of coordinated hunting was found in their ancestors.

3) Correlation of Brains to Social Evolution: Though not a solid arugment, it is interesting to note that while dinosaurs became more socially complex, the trend of "bigger" brains in theropods seem to be synch with this other trend. Perhaps, the increase in social behavior allowed for bigger brains or bigger brains allowed for more complex social behavior, which both could lead to coordinated pack hunting behavior or at least a prototype version.

I'm sure there are other arguments such as hunting mechanics, benefits of living in groups, and evolutionary response to prey's defenses, but I felt that these three arguments were the best observed in terms of physical and evolutionary evidence. But to be clear on my arguments, I'm arguing for a prototype version of coordinated pack hunting strictly in advance theropods. So the "mobster" style of earlier theropods evolved into the prototypical "coordinated" style of advanced theropods. What do you think? Are these arguments valid or is more research needed for this debate?
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:iconzombiefighter116:
ZombieFighter116 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
I'll bet these pack hunter groups were far from harmonious
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:iconolddochudsonandco:
OldDocHudsonandCO Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
True, and I believe they were far more dangerous than any wolf or hyena due to their far more impressive weaponry. XD
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:iconzombiefighter116:
ZombieFighter116 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
Yea. But fo T-Rex, I always thought they hunted in family groups like Mother+Father+ 1 or 2 Adolescents.
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:iconolddochudsonandco:
OldDocHudsonandCO Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I have the same view about T. rex, but I think the raptors were more loosely organized, but just as coordinated.
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