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When Dinosaurs Battled Crurotarsans

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the thunder-gator dept.

Earth 181

onehitwonder writes "Reuters reported yesterday on new scientific research that indicates how dinosaurs beat out another early reptilian species for domination of the earth. Roughly 200 million years ago, dinosaurs battled with another dinosaur-like animal, the crurotarsan, which is related to the crocodile. Some species grew to 39 feet long, according to the article, at an epoch when few dinosaurs exceeded 10 feet in length. Scientists used to believe that dinosaurs beat out the crurotarsans because the dinosaurs were physiologically superior. But new research indicates that dinosaurs might have won out due to a large stroke of cosmic luck, the nature of which is speculative."

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181 comments

Errata (4, Funny)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#24978785)

Roughly 6000 years ago, dinosaurs battled with another dinosaur-like animal,

Fixed that for you, Kansas.

Re:Errata (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24978859)

Roughly 6000 years ago, dinosaurs snuggled and played with another dinosaur-like animal,

Fixed that for you, Kansas.

Fixed your fix. This was the garden of Eden, remember? Everybody loved everybody in Eden.

Re:Errata (2, Interesting)

Empiric (675968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979515)

And outside this particular garden was the rest of the Earth, surrounded by the people and animals who pre-existed the ones in said garden.

If you were from Kansas, you'd have read what it says.

Well, maybe not Kansas, but certainly Alexandria.

Re:Errata (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979781)

And outside this particular garden was the rest of the Earth, surrounded by the people and animals who pre-existed the ones in said garden.

If you were from Kansas, you'd have read what it says.

Well, maybe not Kansas, but certainly Alexandria.

Huh? Read what WHAT says? If I was from Alexandria, would this post make more sense to me?

Re:Errata (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979849)

If I was from Alexandria, would this post make more sense to me?

Probably.

But don't worry. Natural Deselection will sort it out for both of us.

Re:Errata (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980361)

Fixed your fix. This was the garden of Eden, remember? Everybody loved everybody in Eden.

What, like hot dinosaur on crurotarsan action, or just a friendly cuddle? ;-)

Cheers

Re:Errata (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981193)

I don't think that in the fundies minds there was any sex at all going on in Eden. Sex is nasty and dirty and there wasn't any of that. But seeing as how nobody was mortal yet, and nobody ate anybody else, breeding probably wasn't necessary. And if it was, well, I think you had a friendly cuddle and maybe rubbed your barbie doll crotches together and then God flew down in the form of a stork and pulled a baby out of a cabbage patch for you. Or something.

Re:Errata (2, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982029)

Lol.. Sex wasn't even a consideration until Eve ate the apple.

But I don't know any fundies that think sex is nasty or dirty, they think it is private and talking about it or displaying it to others is nasty and dirty. A big difference there if you care to notice. I'm betting that to some degree, you will agree with that too. I mean do you want someone to watch your wife get undressed and masturbate herself because you don't finish the job? Or do you want someone watching you masturbate because she won't give you any or you don't have a job? And no, I don't know that your married or self serving, the tone is just to illustrate and not accuse so don't take it that way.

Re:Errata (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982337)

Erm, the wife and I have an open marriage. We have three ways. We've been to orgies. We discuss sex in frank and matter of fact ways with our friends. We are not at all embarrassed by sex, and consider it private only in that we don't do it in public. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, as long as there are no kids present. The only reason that people think it should be private is because they think it is dirty, like taking a dump.

Re:Errata (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982971)

Indeed. This is 2008, not 1958.

Funny, open marriages are "sinful", yet it's okay to sleep with other women and have kids with them in the Old Testament.

Ugh. People should read what they're thumping.

Disclaimer: I'm a Christian in an open marriage.

Flamebait? Jealous Much? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24983145)

Seriously, I think whoever modded this 'flamebait' must be a teensy bit jealous. Off topic, I could see, but flamebait? Just because it made your sad little basement dwelling ass jealous, and made you feel like flaming me, does not make the above comment flamebait.

Tell you what, sad little virginal mods, I'm going out with a new hot chick this Saturday, I'll screw her once extra just for y'all.

Re:Flamebait? Jealous Much? (4, Funny)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#24983307)

Tell you what, sad little virginal mods, I'm going out with a new hot chick this Saturday, I'll screw her once extra just for y'all.

You tell em! We studs gotta stick together.

I'm actually going to be getting it on with Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Avril Lavigne, Lacey Chabert, and Keira Knightly tomorrow night. I've saved Natalie Portman and the hot tub full of grits for Sunday.

So just get yer jealous selves outta here and let a playa play.

Re:Errata (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24979023)

Yeah, but the Flood kicked all their asses!

Re:Errata (1, Flamebait)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979229)

I realize that you morons know nothing about science, and therefore need to make the same stupid comment over and over again on every paleontology, geology and astronomy story. But surely news of dinosaurs battling giant crocodiles is exciting enough that even the most ignorant computer fixer could find something to say about it?

Incidentally, I'd bet that the lengths referred to in the article (like 33 feet) are over-exact conversions of metric approximations, as I'd mentioned [slashdot.org] in the underground fossil forest story, where you idiots were also making the same "6000 years old" again and again.

Wow! (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979369)

You sound like a really smart man. It's a good thing you know what sarcasm is!

-Rick

Re:Wow! (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979699)

Oh, give him a break. Look at his UID. He's probably pushing 50 and nearly dead.

Please have some respect for your elders.

Re:Wow! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980439)

Oh, give him a break. Look at his UID. He's probably pushing 50 and nearly dead.

Yeah, but look at it from his perspective. He's been shooing crurotarsans and other punks off his lawn since the Triassic period. He's a little tired of it by now. :-P

Cheers

Re:Wow! (1)

crayz (1056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980765)

Hey! I'm 26 damnit

Re:Wow! (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980825)

Hey! I'm 26 damnit

So you signed up on Slashdot when you were 14?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24981589)

I do not understand the point of this post.

Are you showing off your subtraction skillz? In that case, congratulations! Have a cookie [amazon.com] from Amazon.

Are you incredulous? 14 year olds are not uncommon on the Internet, even back in (whatever the year would be, I can't subtract).

Are you making a joke? Do I deserve a "whoosh?"

Re:Errata (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979427)

Jeez, Otter, what crawled up your butt and died? The fact that in the 21st century, some people still think the Earth is only 6,000 years old because they misinterpreted a stupid fable, is funny.

You don't like us making fun of stupid religious people, but then you call us stupid. Are you a religious person? Do you think the world is only 6,000 years old? Why are you making such a big deal about this? I don't get it.

If it is only because the joke is old, I got news for you. People like old familiar jokes. You may have noticed, people here still quote a comedian who hasn't played outside of Laughlin, Nevada for decades. Do you also bitch and whine about the 'Soviet Russia' jokes? Do you rail about the stupidity of people quoting the Simpsons, or making Natalie Portman/Hot Grits comments?

Maybe this making fun of stupid religious beliefs hits a little close to home? What ARE your beliefs in that regard?

Re:Errata (2, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979813)

Speaking of which...

What do you call a hockey Mom that preaches 'Abstinence only'? ...

A grandma!

-Rick

Re:Errata (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24981835)

It's like putting lipstick on a pit-bull. You still end up with a poorly socialized, ignorant bitch

Re:Errata (2)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24983209)

But if that pit bull grew up in Alaska, it will be an expert on international affairs and diplomacy, because Alaska is near Russia.

Re:Errata (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980191)

To quote Doug Stanhope:

"At least I'm not some middle aged moron living with a boogey man in my closet still!

Re:Errata (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982571)

To quote Doug Stanhope:

  "At least I'm not some middle aged moron living with a boogey man in my closet still!

I'm confused. Are you saying that the moron is distilling boogey men in his (or her) closet? Or is the boogey man in the still?

Re:Errata (1)

Scotland Tom (974094) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980711)

"You don't like us making fun of stupid religious people, but then you call us stupid." Replace "religious" with "black" "asian" "jewish" "muslim" or any other name and you might actually realize how offensive your statements are.

Re:Errata (3, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980937)

Now there's a dumb comment. I don't like stupid black people or stupid Asian people or stupid Jewish people or stupid Muslims or stupid white people or stupid programmers or stupid...anything. Nothing to do with the race, skin color, religion, gender, sexual preference or whatever: I just don't like stupid people.

I have absolutely nothing against religious people per se, but for some reason the ones in the US are letting the stupidest among them dominate the political debate, and that fills me with some contempt even for the smart ones. Speak out and make it clear that being religious doesn't automatically make you an idiot, or the idiots will be the only thing the rest of us see and associate with your religion!

And by "speak out", I don't mean whine about how people are starting to assume that all US Xtians are idiots. Stand up and tell the idiots in your creed what idiots they're being. Publicly. Tell them that they're making a mockery of your religion. That'll earn you my respect.

Re:Errata (3, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981025)

Replace "religious" with "black" "asian" "jewish" "muslim" or any other name and you might actually realize how offensive your statements are.

A person is born "black", "asian", or "jewish". "religious" is a personal decision, which makes it fair game for ridicule. (same applies obviously for "muslim")

Re:Errata (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981535)

IT's funny, until it's a person in congress making laws, or a teacher pushing non science as science or refusing to teach science.

Re:Errata (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982583)

The fact that in the 21st century, some people still think the Earth is only 6,000 years old because they misinterpreted a stupid fable, is funny.

Not when it's the first post on every paleontology story, worded in almost exactly the same way, it isn't. I laughed about it in 2003.

Do you also bitch and whine about the 'Soviet Russia' jokes? Do you rail about the stupidity of people quoting the Simpsons, or making Natalie Portman/Hot Grits comments?

Occasionally, I mod them redundant if they're nonsensical, irrelevant to the article, or lack any sort of originality (quite a few people still seem to find the "6000 years" jokes funny, so I just let them be). Every now and then someone will make a new one, or find a new way to apply one, that's actually amusing.

In Soviet Russia, when you stare into the Abyss, what happens?

Re:Errata (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982675)

(quite a few people still seem to find the "6000 years" jokes funny, so I just let them be)

I used to mod them informative, but I don't get mod points any more. Perhaps there's a connection.

Re:Errata (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#24983165)

But surely news of dinosaurs battling giant crocodiles is exciting enough that even the most ignorant computer fixer could find something to say about it?

It might have been, but the summary gave the ending away.

Re:Errata (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979319)

You know, that's totally ridiculous...

I'm not from Kansas. I do believe in God, yet, I also believe that the bible and the timelines involved were adjusted to something meaningful to the people of the time.

ie - they didn't understand millions/billions/trillions - they didn't understand genetics - they had no clue about space / cosmos.

The dates / times / timelines in the bible and other religious books all have to be taken with a grain of salt (or was it a peck). Before people, who can say how long a *day* was? Is it an Earth day? or a galactic day?

Re:Errata (1)

tprox (621523) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979365)

Someone should post an updated Bible, that makes it meaningful to people of our time. Any takers? I bet they would sell like hotcakes.

Meaningful? (2, Insightful)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981991)

It's already loaded with enough sex, violence, intrigue, dismemberment, rape and murder to be meaningful to today's society. It's more disgusting than your average 18A torture-porn flick.

Maybe a new movie version is needed. It would be like "300" except because it's from the Bible it would be Sunday School-approved.

I'd like to see that on the flannelgraph.

Re:Errata (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979645)

He wasn't referring to people like you. He was commenting on people who want to take it literally and get mad at anyone suggesting that anything happened more than approx 6000 ago.

You are obviously not one of those people, so relax.

Re:Errata (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982127)

Well, the problem is that the bible says nothing about 6000 years. That was just a supposed time line a church came up with based around the genealogy laid out in the bible. So both, saying it is true as well as saying that all religious people believe because it's in the bible is pretty much wrong/false.

Re:Errata (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981067)

I do believe in God, yet, I also believe that the bible and the timelines involved were adjusted to something meaningful to the people of the time.

So the ancient Israelites, God's "chosen people", were stupider about time than the people of India [wikipedia.org]? Curious.

Re:Errata (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981435)

Populations as a whole were not informed enough to understand these concepts. Since religion is supposed to be for everyone, they'd want concepts and numbers that were conceivable to the masses.

Re:Errata (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981445)

You might believe that way, but there's literally millions of Americans who do not. They believe the Earth really is 6500 years old. Most of them will probably be voting for McCain/Palin, since Palin also believes the same thing.

It'd be really nice if all Christians believed the way you do; then we wouldn't have all these silly arguments about creationism, the age of the earth, etc. popping up here. Many people like me would have a much better opinion of Christians and Christianity in general too. Unfortunately, millions of Christians think the Bible is something that must be interpreted literally (in its King James English translation, no less), and that anything that contradicts that (like the entire field of geology) is false.

Re:Errata (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982645)

It'd be really nice if all Christians believed the way you do; then we wouldn't have all these silly arguments about creationism, the age of the earth, etc. popping up here.

I have yet to see a thread started where a christian injected that the earth is only 6000 or so years old. Every thread on every forum that I can remember in the 15+ years I have been on the internet, it is always someone making fun of the entire 6000 year thing that starts it. So maybe if people like you wouldn't go out of your way to bring it up, it just wouldn't pop up here. It's like the old She asked for it argument but you are actually asking for conversation on the topics when you bring the topics up and replying isn't criminal or immoral.

Many people like me would have a much better opinion of Christians and Christianity in general too. Unfortunately, millions of Christians think the Bible is something that must be interpreted literally (in its King James English translation, no less), and that anything that contradicts that (like the entire field of geology) is false.

This too is something I have never came across in real life. I'm starting to wonder if you aren't making connections in your head. I'm sure that there are some people who believe the bible is a literal word but I have never met one. Even the Seventh Day Adventist seem to think parts of it are representational. I'm not worried about anyone's opinion of Christians but I truly think your creating a controversy that isn't there and drawing your own strawmans to make it happen.

BTW, the King James version of the bible is the preferred version because of works like Dr, Strong who created the Strong's exhausted concordance. [amazon.com] There are concordances by others and ones intended to explain other versions of the bible. A concordance is a reference of every word crossed between chapters linked to the original words with definitions and so on so you can get the entire original intent. This is why churches have bible study and no bible reading classes. This is also the reasons why some denominations differ in readings then others.

You might believe that way, but there's literally millions of Americans who do not. They believe the Earth really is 6500 years old. Most of them will probably be voting for McCain/Palin, since Palin also believes the same thing.

That's nothing but a cop out. Palin seems to energize people without even mentioning the bible or any of her beliefs in association with them. This is something else that I only see others bringing it up. And even with them bringing it up, they can only find her personal life aspects of her religion. She has not put religion into politics at all except to say that evolution and creation should share a spot so they can be thoroughly discussed. Big deal, I don't know why Evolutionist are so afraid of discussion over creation and evolution. They don't even have to be in the same courses either.

But here you are making an absurd claim that Palin believe the earth is 6000 or so years old and that everyone will be voting for he because of that claim. Total hogwash. With the war on terror, taxes, the economy, government waste, government intrusions, and all of the important issues at hand and you think people are more concerned with the earth being 6000 years old.

Do yourself a favor and shut up before you look like a bigger idiot. Inventing a controversy just do you can rail on it doesn't mean it exists. and it doesn't mean your some super hero battling the forced of god either. It means your a joker making shit up then complaining that it was brought up because someone interested in the content decided to comment in a way you don't like. In the end, your attempting to pick a fight over the same stuff that science practices in this area. That large vast majority of people are taking someone elses' word for it. You miht say "but with science, I can review the papers" and the answer to that, outside the fact that most of them cost lots of money so no, not everyone can do it is that "well they can review the bible." You might say "but They circulate their results around and peers review the theories and concepts", well, that's how history is done as well as church doctrine and so on. You might say "but I can test this, you can't test the bible" and the reality is that you won't test it, you won't have the equipment, you won't have the time, funding or resources to test it. In the end, your going to take someone else's word for it because you somehow believe their word has value. So you believing in evolution or abiogenesis isn't much different then someone believing in the bible. I'm not sure why people refuse to admit that. Sure, stand by your arguments and beliefs, Hell, put forth you case and commit your evidence, but don't ridicule someone else for doing the same things you personally do or the vast majority of people do. Don't make hypothetical situation up just so you can impose your thoughts on the masses. And don't complain when you so and someone takes you up on it.

Re:Errata (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#24983251)

I have yet to see a thread started where a christian injected that the earth is only 6000 or so years old.

There are two possible explanations for that.

1) Such people don't exist.
2) Such people don't know how to use a computer.

I know where I'd put my money...

Re:Errata (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981897)

I love how you start out by calling creationist ideas totally ridiculous, and then you proceed to give your own theories which are in fact equally ridiculous.

Re:Errata (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24979433)

Instead of the "funny" mod, is there a "sad but true" mod?

Damn creatards.

"Dinosaurs?!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24979579)

They're called "Jesus horses," you insensitive clod!

Crurotarsans are... (4, Insightful)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 5 years ago | (#24978879)

some kinda crocodile? Aw, here and I had this pegged for them to be the monster of the week on the SciFi late night "movie" "specials".

Re:Crurotarsans are... (1)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979077)

Some kind of alien would have been more interesting... or super brainy lizard people!

Re:Crurotarsans are... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979133)

It does sound like a great idea for a made-for-scifi movie.

note that the made-for-scifi is a qualifier to movie. It would be horrible idea for a movie, which means it's very appropriate for a made-for-scifi. Watching a made-for-scifi movie is like drinking a bottle of vodka without any of the good side effects.

Vodka with no benefits? (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979509)

That's not vodka at all, sir. I believe this would dovetail more neatly into the great pantheon of bum wines [bumwine.com]: your Mad Dog 20/20, Thunderbird, and what have you. :)

Re:Vodka with no benefits? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979693)

Clearly you never tried Nikolai vodka. 1L 100 proof in an easy grip bottle for $7 in PA(which has relatively high excise taxes). My friend and I back when we were PCS(poor college students)had $7 between us and calculated that was the most alcohol we could buy....God I miss college.

Re:Crurotarsans are... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980091)

When I read the second sentence of the summary, I started hearing it in Don LaFontaine's [wikipedia.org] voice: "200 million years ago, in a world where dinosaurs and crurotarsans struggled for supremacy..."

Re:Crurotarsans are... (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981471)

Yeah I did, and it was going fine until I tried to figure out how to pronounce "crurotarsans."

Can someone help me out?

Re:Crurotarsans are... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982773)

Yeah I did, and it was going fine until I tried to figure out how to pronounce "crurotarsans."

Can someone help me out?


I'm guessing it's something like "crew-row-tar-zans". Not exactly something that rolls off the tongue, is it?

Re:Crurotarsans are... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979265)

You mean "crurotarsan" might be derived from a Japanese proper name like "Krurota-san"?

Re:Crurotarsans are... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979791)

You mean "crurotarsan" might be derived from a Japanese proper name like "Krurota-san"?

No, more likely crouton.

Mmmm. Salads.

Re:Crurotarsans are... (2, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979289)

You're disappointed by 39-foot-long crocodiles? I guess I have to raise my standards somehow. (Not directed at you, honey)

Sort of like movie and rock stars, really. (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979135)

We have birds and crocs now, both evolved descendants of these families. Only the cool ones died out, leaving us with the current underwhelming descendants and pretenders.

Re:Sort of like movie and rock stars, really. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979259)

Only the cool ones died out, leaving us with the current underwhelming descendants and pretenders.

But... but... Bono wears sunglasses all the time, man! All the freaking time!

Re:Sort of like movie and rock stars, really. (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979449)

I don't know about you but I don't think 'farking huge' is a criteria for coolness. There are plenty of freaking awesome birds out there.

And haing been up close and personal with crocs, caymans, and gators, I can say that they are anything but underwhelming... though some more diversity would be cool.

Re:Sort of like movie and rock stars, really. (2, Insightful)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979557)

When we're talking about animals that were 100 feet long tip to tip and walked like an earthquake, I'm willing to accept "farking huge" as a coolness criterion.

Why are the large animals smaller than back then? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980043)

Why were so many of those creatures so big, and what is stopping creatures from getting to those sizes now?

What has changed?

While it's easier to spot fossils of huge animals, I don't think that's the only thing - I mean just look at the largest land animal now. It's small compared to the stuff back then.

Re:Why are the large animals smaller than back the (1)

Trayal (592715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980999)

I don't have a source, but I remember reading at one point that there was more oxygen in the atmosphere back then, resulting in larger creatures being possible; take with a grain of salt (i.e. do your research).

Re:Why are the large animals smaller than back the (1)

TheGeniusIsOut (1282110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981097)

There was a much higher concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere, allowing for less efficient creatures to survive.

Re:Why are the large animals smaller than back the (1)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982997)

Very large animals reproduce more slowly and they are huge walking targets for hungry, intelligent pack hunters (aka humans).

So when does the movie come out? (1)

whitroth (9367) | more than 5 years ago | (#24979517)

I can see it now, a new video at the Creationist museum, Dinosaurs vs. Crurotarsans, with humans trying to avoid being stomped (or eaten as a quick snack).

Or maybe a Hollywood movie, where after an earthquake, a huuuuge lost cavern cracks open, and crurotarsans come out. Then, just when we're striking back against Giant Creatures Immune to bullets, explosives, etc, another earthquake strikes, and another huuuge cavern opens, and out come dinosaurs....

              mark "but where's the Big One with the blue glow?"

Crurotarsans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24979797)

Is this an evolution of "Puritan", a similar side-branch of development to "Creationists"?

I can just imagine those creationists fighting the dinosaurs some six thousand odd years ago. It's almost getting me hard ... go Raptors!

Ahhh Soooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24979903)

We have now repudiated the doctrine of survival-of-the-fitest in favor of survival-of-the-luckiest.

This could be employed to explain how weak flaccid white males came to dominate western culture in the last few centuries...

Re:Ahhh Soooo (1)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980503)

I always found the phrase "survival of the fittest" to be amusing. How do we determine the fittest? By those which survive, of course. So, rephrasing, we can simply say: "The theory of survival by those who survived to reproduce." And it becomes a useless tautology. It's like saying A=A forall A in math. Yes, it's true. And it does not tell us anything new at all.

Re:Ahhh Soooo (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981973)

Actually a better definition of "fittest" is "those with good survival traits". A hardy and fit cow can be killed by a freak drought, while a very feeble cow could survive because of a lucky growing season, but we wouldn't say that the latter was the "fittest" of the two. In this way the focus is on the important aspects of the animal, not "survivors survived" but "animals with better survival traits survived".

Who's laughing now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24980299)

Somewhere a crocodile is thinking:
"I think I'll go find a dinosaur and congratulate him on his victory in the battle for reptilian suprem...oh wait, they're all DEAD, aren't they?"

Speculative? (1)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980493)

But new research indicates that dinosaurs might have won out due to a large stroke of cosmic luck, the nature of which is speculative.

This sounds like the perfect fit for /.

This is not science, folks. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24980673)

This isn't science, it's speculation. There's not actual evidence what happened (and probably never will be) so somebody came up with a guess that there was some sort of disaster that caused the dinosaurs to win out. This is what's properly called an ad hoc hypothesis, where somebody comes up with the idea of something unprovable to explain something. Phlogiston, the Continuous Creation of Hydrogen and the Luminiferous Ether are well-known examples from history, and there was a time I suspected that Dark Matter was another one. (Don't flame me, there's enough evidence now that there's something out there, but there certainly wasn't when the idea was first proposed.)

Re:This is not science, folks. (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981245)

Ah yes. Speculation (also known as "forming a hypothesis") is clearly not any part of science. So glad you could point that out. :)

I agree, this one seems fairly ad hoc, but that doesn't mean it can't be tested by examining the evidence in light of this hypothesis. And I would have to say that your examples seem cherry-picked, since you left out: atomic theory, continental drift, relativity, speciation, neutrinos, Technicium, and much much more. Its true that random speculation (and its complement, serendipity) are not the best approaches to science, but they can be fruitful.

Of course, I didn't RTFA. If TFA presented this as a fact rather than as speculation, then you've got a valid beef, but I would tend to suspect that the fault lies with the reporter in that case, not the speculator who, it must be admitted, did come up with an interesting hypothesis, if not a very solid one.

Re:This is not science, folks. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981495)

I would tend to suspect that the fault lies with the reporter in that case, not the speculator who, it must be admitted, did come up with an interesting hypothesis, if not a very solid one.

I did RTFA, and it's hard to say how much is the reporter and how much the person who came up with the idea. And, I'm not so much objecting to the idea as reminding people that it's just speculation. Already, even in the few early comments, I could see some people were accepting this guess as proven fact and I wanted to point out that it's anything but proven at this point.

Re:This is not science, folks. (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982845)

Fair enough. The "scientists-say" factor in reporting is always annoying. Compared to the "scientists [read: one biologist with crackpot theories of physics] say that the LHC may destroy the world" reporting we've already seen recently, this seems pretty innocuous. Still, it never hurts to point out when someone's speculating in advance of the evidence. I think it's going a little far to say "that's not science", but I suppose that if that's what it takes to get the point across, no harm done. :)

cheers

Not so fast (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981543)

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's not scientific, but I'm not sure its big news. He looked at the theory that dinosaurs evolved a direct superiority over crurotarsi, examined the one of the bases for it (physiological diversity as evidenced by fossils) and found it didn't fit the theory.

What's the next step in the scientific method? Reformulate the hypothesis. So what are the facts? Approximately 30 million years of co-existance before one group died out and another survived at the Triassic/Jurassic boundry. If it wasn't simply the rise of the dinosaurs (which is not disproven as the cause, it's simply lost one bit of support), what else could have caused that?

We know that in several instances planet-wide events have caused major extinctions. Fairly frequently even, as the wooly mammoths disappeared a mere 10,000 years ago. As it just so happens, there was a major extinction at the Triassic/Jurassic boundry. About half of all marine species existing at the time disappeared, in addition to nearly all of the crurotarsans and a few dinosaurs. It was basically as bad as the K-T extinction we all know is characterized by the disappearance of dinosaurs.

The cause is currently still unknown, but it's thought that the breakup of the Pangea supercontinent and associated volcanic activity is the most likely cause. [wikipedia.org] An asteroid impact like the K-T extinction is currently not favored due to the lack of evidence like an appropriately aged crater.

So this extinction is already known not be limited to crurotarsans, and in fact was worse in the oceans than on land. My understanding is that is typical of climate-based extinctions like the PETM event. I think then that Dr. Brusatte is offering his physiological diversity theory as one more piece of evidence in support of an existing alternative theory, rather than some brilliant entirely new theory as reuters seems to suggest.

Still, this definitely suggests the dinosaurs had some sort of advantage over the Crurotarsans, which had common evolutionary ancestors from the earlier geological period. It may have been direct, like better agility (a factor not necessarily indicated by simply comparing diversity), or indirect like warm-blood helping them adapt to a changing climate better.

In short, this doesn't sound unscientific at all. It's more likely a poorly written article compounded with us the readers having trouble jiving it with all the things we learned about dinosaurs in grade school. On that note, I'm pretty sure half the pictures I remember seeing in grade school of early triassic "dinosaurs" were actually these guys.

And ad hoc hypotheses are not illegitimate. Dark matter is properly considered an ad hoc hypothesis, as was relativity, for that matter.

Re:Not so fast (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982423)

In short, this doesn't sound unscientific at all. It's more likely a poorly written article compounded with us the readers having trouble jiving it with all the things we learned about dinosaurs in grade school.

I think you may have misunderstood me a little. I didn't say it was unscientific, just that it shouldn't be considered science (in the sense of having been proven) when it's not. Too many people, here on Slashdot and other places, are prone to believe that if a Scientist says it, It Must Be True, and I wanted to remind them to take TFA (in the unlikely event they read it) with a grain of salt.

As far as relativity being considered an ad hoc hypothesis, I'd not heard that, although I do know it took a number of years before it was accepted by the physics community.

Crurotarsans won! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24981645)

The crocodiles are still around, so despite winning the battle, dinosaurs lost the war BIG time.

My title was better. (1)

Protometheus (1150367) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981721)

The title was much more exciting when my dyslexia told me it said, "When Dinosaurs Battled Courtesans."

So... no sexy renaissance ladies battling giant lizards?

candidate for worst web design (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24981857)

Okay, this is somewhat OT, but the article is on my short list for the award for worst web design. The link to page 2 doesn't function if you have javascript turned off. So okay, I told noscript to temporarily allow javascript on this page. But once you have javascript allowed, you get a distracting text banner scrolling across the top of the article, like something from someone's geocities homepage from 1995. Wow, let's combine the worst of web 1.0 and web 2.0!

If you prefer SI units... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24982505)

200 million years is about 6.31E15 seconds.

Hope that helps for all those /. folks who don't use American customary units.

I kind of imagined them with a side of Ranch (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24982687)

The gigantic, fearsome, cubic Crouton-o-saurians cam rumbling through the low frisee, green leaf, and iceberg lettuces, smashing every living thing in their path. But they were lightweights, and when the comet smashed into Earth they knew they were in trouble. "Crumbs!," cried the Crouton-o-saurians, "we're toast!"

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