Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On Predatory Dinosaurs

Faunal predation is a fact of life. Was it always intended though from a theistic Biblical point of view?

Yes.

Genesis 1:30 is usually shown to prove otherwise, but that scripture proves only that vegetation was given to the animals to eat. It does not even address scavenging the dead animals. Thus the use of Genesis 1:30 to try to prove that animals were herbivorous unwittingly denies faunal death, creating a state of cognitive dissonance.[1]

What evidence though do we have of predation within the dinosaurs? Much could be presented indicating this.

First, we have bones with tooth impressions in them. When dental putty is inserted into these impressions in the bone, it is revealed to bear the unmistakable image of a carnivorous tooth. But that could just be from scavenging. However we also have what appears to be injuries from a predator that are in a stage of healing.[2] There is also the "fighting dinosaurs" ensemble from the Gobi desert that has preserved a carnivorous Velociraptor and an herbivorous Protoceratops locked in a struggle to the death. (See introductory image and Figure 1 below.)

Figure 1
click to enlarge
Additionally, in 2006 an ensemble designated as the "Montana Dueling Dinosaurs" was discovered that contains a ceratopsian skeleton in contact with a tyrannosaur, with tyrannosaurian teeth embedded within the cervical vertebrae of the ceratopsian. (Refer to Figure 2 below.) Absolutely fascinating! There is also the field of paleopathology which investigates abnormalities in fossil bone to determine if they were caused by disease, infection, scavenging, predation, etc. There is also at least one trackway I am aware of that displays a chase scene with a two-legged theropod dinosaur, Acrocanthosaurus, chasing a four-legged sauropod dinosaur, Paluxysaurus.[3] The tracks seem to show the former leaping onto the later and slowing him down before ending abruptly. Notice also Figure 2 in "The Fossil Record Of Predation In Dinosaurs."[4] That figure shows a photograph of a fibula of an herbivorous dinosaur with a theropod tooth embedded in it. We also know of coprolites with digested bones[5] and dinosaurs with skeletons in their gut region.[6] Thus, the abstract of that paper says: "Inferences about theropod diets and hunting behavior based on functional morphology are sometimes supported by evidence from taphonomic associations with likely prey species, bite marks, gut contents, coprolites, and trackways." To argue against evidence like this due to concerns over the evolutionist paradigm of the authors (Farlow and Holtz) is inadvisable as that may be perceived as bigoted. The evidence speaks for itself, in this case quite uniformly.

Figure 2

click to enlarge
From a news report: "The predator nanotyrannus, a 24ft-long cousin of the tyrannosaurus rex, left teeth embedded in the neck of a plant-eating triceratops, who in turn left its opponent with a large dent in its skull. It is thought the pair fought before being buried by an earthquake." (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2416212/Locked-combat-predator-prey-65million-years-ago-sold-record-breaking-6million.html)

Faunal predation is one of the wonders of the biosphere. To reject it on the basis of human emotion is insufficient, and leaves no room for investigation with increased Godly devotion as the aim.

Open minds find answers, closed minds find only what they want.

Footnotes:
[1] For a more detailed explanation regarding Genesis 1:30, please see my article Genesis and Ante-Adamic Faunal Predation in PDF. See also my answer to the question "When did animal predation begin—after the Fall or after the Deluge? Did Satan cause animal predation?" under "Animals" here: http://www.jimspace.000space.com/YECFAQ.htm

[2] See the article "Tyrannosaurus rex hunted for live prey" by Mark Kaplan in Nature News, 15 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/news/tyrannosaurus-rex-hunted-for-live-prey-1.13381 Note the figure of a "CT scan of a duck-billed hadrosaur's vertebra" which "shows an embedded T. rex tooth crown with bone tissue that regrew around it," which is best explained as an unsuccessful predatory attack where the T. rex lost its tooth in the caudal vertebrae of the escaping and surviving hadrosaur. Not surprisingly, this has been called "a smoking gun" for tyrannosaurian predation.

[3] As seen in Monsters Resurrected: Great American Predator [Documentary on DVD]. (2010). Discovery Channel.

[4] By James Farlow and Thomas Holtz, Jr., page 254: https://www.academia.edu/293256/The_Fossil_Record_of_Predation_in_Dinosaurs (Other trackways are discussed in that article as well.)

[5] See: "A king-sized theropod coprolite" Nature 393, 680-682 (18 June 1998) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v393/n6686/abs/393680a0.html "This specimen is more than twice as large as any previously reported carnivore coprolite, and its great size and temporal and geographic context indicate that it was produced by a tyrannosaur, most likely Tyrannosaurus rex. The specimen contains a high proportion (30-50%) of bone fragments, and is rare tangible evidence of theropod diet and digestive processes."

[6] See page 253 of the Farlow and Holtz article. "Some theropod skeletons contain the bony remains of their prey."


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