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  Topic: Dinosaur Dicks (via NY Times), Happy VD!< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,09:05   

Isn't this romantic? :p
Quote
February 12, 2008,  9:26 pm
A Tyrannical Romance

If Charles Darwin were alive today, he’d be turning 199: like Abraham Lincoln, he was born on Feb. 12 1809.

I considered observing their joint birthday with a discussion of slave making in ants, but rejected that idea in favor of another. For later this week is another Big Day: the feast of St. Valentine. With apologies to Lincoln, I’ve decided to hold a Darwin-Valentine celebration by revealing one of my more tyrannical romantic fantasies.

I should say, by way of preamble, that Darwin contributed far more to biology than the “Origin of Species,” in which he laid out how evolution by natural selection works, and the evidence for it at the time. He also wrote (and this list is not complete): a treatise on the formation of coral reefs, which is still held to be correct; a landmark work on carnivorous plants; a definitive treatise on barnacles, extinct and extant; a study of how earthworms plow and aerate soil; and a fascinating speculation on the evolution of emotion in humans and other animals.

And that’s not all. One of his other major works, “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex,” includes a huge compilation of the sexual decorations and displays of animals, from the jaws of stag-beetles to the tail of the Argus pheasant, which far exceeds that of the peacock in absurd magnificence. From his study of all this, Darwin began to elucidate systematic patterns and principles of the evolution of courtship and sexual behavior. In particular, he developed the concept of sexual selection, which is the idea that cumbersome ornaments like big tails can evolve, even if they make the bearer less likely to survive, if the opposite sex (usually the female) finds them attractive.

In doing so, he founded one of the most important and successful branches of evolutionary research. We now have a robust understanding of how sexual pressures — the pressures to find, impress, and seduce a mate — influence the evolution of males and females. So much so that if you tell me a fact, such as the average size difference between males and females in a species, or the proportion of a male’s body taken up by his testes, I can tell you what the mating system is likely to be. For example, where males are much bigger than females, fighting between males has been important — which often means that the biggest males maintain a harem. If testes are relatively large, females probably have sex with several males in the course of a single breeding episode.

These forces are so reliable that, if only we could determine the sex of dinosaur fossils, we could begin to infer their mating habits. But alas. Unless the animal died while heavy with eggs, as one oviraptor obligingly did, determining the sex of a dinosaur is close to impossible. At one point, it was thought that the shape of a particular bone at the base of the tail might indicate sex; but a recent analysis has shown it does not. Now the best guesses come from subtle differences in structure of the bone in the hind legs. For the time being, then, fossils are stonily silent about the dinosaurs’ private lives, their methods of wooing, the exuberance of their song-and-dance routines.

Which brings me to my tyrannical fantasy. I want to take a journey 68 million years back in time to see a Tyrannosaurus rex couple mating. What was it like? Did they trumpet and bellow and stamp their feet? Did they thrash their enormous tails? Did he bite her neck in rapture and exude a musky scent? Somehow, I imagine that when two T. rex got it on, the earth shook for miles around.


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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Nomad



Posts: 311
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,17:51   

I can't imagine T-rex mating was very elegant.  I'm picturing the male falling off a few times before getting correctly positioned.

I'm not sure that's the sort of shaking the author had in mind.

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,21:42   

Wouldn't dinosaur mating more closely resemble bird mating than mammal mating?

Henry

  
k.e..



Posts: 3746
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,22:04   

Quote (Nomad @ Feb. 14 2008,17:51)
I can't imagine T-rex mating was very elegant.  I'm picturing the male falling off a few times before getting correctly positioned.
....

I used to have that problem too. I recommend super glue.

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"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus
"I'm busy studying scientist level science papers" Galloping Gary Gaulin

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,22:23   

if you have ever seen mallard ducks doing it, imagine dinosaurs a-going after it.

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
k.e..



Posts: 3746
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,00:34   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Feb. 14 2008,22:23)
if you have ever seen mallard ducks doing it, imagine dinosaurs a-going after it.

Yeah ?

I'll bet u r a on old fossil when it comes to that stuff.

I imagine a box of chocolats, purfume, some dance music and a bottle of Malibu Rum.

Oh and a single Red Rose since its Valintines Day......

I've handed out a virtual few today.

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"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus
"I'm busy studying scientist level science papers" Galloping Gary Gaulin

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,06:26   

I once saw four or five mallard drakes chasing another possibly younger drake around, all of them with meat a swinging and every man for his-self.  lard have mercy.

in my county some fool is trying to pass a law preventing k-8 references to homersexuality, i was wondering just what will they do about the ducks?

if a mallard ain't a good example of what's wrong with the world (just look what happened to them when they hit the depraved upside down bits of the ventral portion of the earth....  they just took and humped ever-thing) i dont know what it is.  

when all you have is a big purple throbber the whole world looks like a mole burrow full of water, right k.e..?

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,10:07   

T-rexes? Imagine Giganotosaurs then , if we're talking about carnivorous dino's:


But ofcourse, if you really want to see some earth-rumbeling dino action, see these little babies:

Those would actually make the earth rumble when they would mate.

  
k.e..



Posts: 3746
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2008,04:53   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Feb. 15 2008,06:26)
I once saw four or five mallard drakes chasing another possibly younger drake around, all of them with meat a swinging and every man for his-self.  lard have mercy.

in my county some fool is trying to pass a law preventing k-8 references to homersexuality, i was wondering just what will they do about the ducks?

if a mallard ain't a good example of what's wrong with the world (just look what happened to them when they hit the depraved upside down bits of the ventral portion of the earth....  they just took and humped ever-thing) i dont know what it is.  

when all you have is a big purple throbber the whole world looks like a mole burrow full of water, right k.e..?

Only if its pink with not too much hair.

Anyway how do you manage mole burrows from your zimmer?

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"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus
"I'm busy studying scientist level science papers" Galloping Gary Gaulin

  
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