Sunday, November 24, 2013

Before the Reign of Tyrants

Christmas came early this year, with the discovery of a giant carnivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous Period. Dubbed Siats meekerorum, the beast was a large allosaurid dinosaur. The Allosauroidea dominated the large predator niche for much of the Jurassic period and the early Cretaceous period. Siats is specifically a Neovenatorid allosaur. The Neovenatorids are currently considered a sister group with the Carcharodontosaurids, a allosauroid group which achieved staggering size in the southern hemisphere.

While much of the news coverage implies that Siats bullied or terrorized the early tyrannosaurs, I have to note that the tyrannosaurs eventually supplanted the allosauroids in North America in striking fashion. The tyrannosaurs belong to the coelurosaur clade, the coelurosaurs are best defined as theropod dinosaurs more closely related to birds than they are to carnosaurs such as the allosaurs (including Siats). Before the tyrannosaurids were recognized as coelurosaurs, most small carnivorous dinosaurs were lumped in with the coelurosaurs much as most large carnivores were lumped in with the carnosaurs, they were considered to have evolved from allosaurid ancestry. The tyrannosaur lineage started out as small, gracile carnivores such as Dilong paradoxis, a primitive, feathered tyrannosaur from the early Cretaceous.

Siats represents a late survival of the allosaurs, its discovery sheds a little light on a transitional period before the tyrannosaurs basically locked up the large predator niche in the late Cretaceous northern hemisphere. For a dinosaur nut like myself, this is most exciting news.

5 comments:

mikey said...

So here's what we know.

We KNOW that time travelers, at some point, are traveling back to the Cretaceous on hunting trips. We know that they are using the classic .375 H&H on Hadrosaurs.

But if you were going to stand against a large Allosaurid, I doubt you'd be comfortable with the classic Holland & Holland.

Which brings up an interesting question from a hunters standpoint. What would be the minimum effective caliber for hunting large carnivorous dinosaurs?

Obvious answer? .50 BMG or .338 Lapua, rounds that deliver huge amounts of terminal energy even at extreme ranges. But I'm thinking you might find even these rounds lacking in oommph, and if you have ever angered a 350 pound boar by shooting it multiple times with an insufficient round, you can begin to imagine the situation you might find yourself in with an angry 2 ton dinosaur charging your position.

There is an old Soviet/Warsaw pact round, the 14.5 x 114 that might just be what the doctor ordered. It delivered a 988 gr slug at 3300 fps and might just give you the terminal ballistics you need to take trophy Allosaurs and live to tell the story...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Those Muscovy ducks have some dinosaur in them. If I wasn't much larger than they are, they'd beat the bread pieces out of me, instead of pecking at my sneakers.
~

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Which brings up an interesting question from a hunters standpoint. What would be the minimum effective caliber for hunting large carnivorous dinosaurs?

One problem would be hitting a vital spot- one can make an educated guess as to where the heart is, but one had better be right. Dinosaurs probably had birdlike lungs, which are vastly superior to mammalian lungs.

Those Muscovy ducks have some dinosaur in them. If I wasn't much larger than they are, they'd beat the bread pieces out of me, instead of pecking at my sneakers.

Hand over the bread, and nobody gets hurt!

Smut Clyde said...

One thing I learned from Brian Aldiss and "Poor Little Warrior" is that carrying the right calibre to kill the dinosaur is the least of your problems.

Those Muscovy ducks have some dinosaur in them.

Bantam chooks too. The pecky little buggers are still the apex predators, as far as they're concerned.

John Gray said...

Ihaveno idea!