Re: Unsubstantiated Rumor (Question)

10 Aug 1995 12:18:28 GMT

Rich Travsky (rtravsky@UWYO.EDU) wrote:
: manders@Direct.CA (Mitchell Anderson) writes:
: > Three times over the last ten years, I've heard a
: >rumor about a find in Alberta. Apparently, two near-
: >complete skeletons were found in association with
: >stone tools. This isn't a big deal unless you consider
: >the rest of the rumor... man-sized, opposable-thumbed,
: >dinosaur with a cranial capacity similar to ours?!?
: > I heard that the Canadian Government made
: >the fossils disappear & that the paleontologists involved
: >were happy the same didn't happen to them.
: >
: > Can anyone elucidate?
: Sculley - Mulder - you're going to Canada on the next flight.

: rich

About 10 years ago, a speculative reconstruction of a possible theropod
descendent was published in (I think) Before Man that represented the path
evolution _might_ have taken if the Cretaceous extinctions had not
intervened. It was man-sized, three-fingered with an opposable thumb,
large-brained, etc. It is republished from time to time in the popular
press. (I don't know what the tabloids do with it, but I can certainly
imagine.) This is the source of your rumor. The ancenstry of this beast
was real--Saurornithoides, a very late Cretaceous dinosaur related to
Deinonychus (the 'raptor' of Jurassic Park) but scaled down a bit. The
Encephalization Quotient was in the bird range, probably making it very
bright for a dinosaur, but hardly competitive with a monkey.

Harry Erwin
Home Page: (try a couple of times)
PhD student in comp neurosci: "Glitches happen" & "Meaning is emotional"