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Re: Stegosaurus Defense

paul sparks wrote:

> Ya now ask me how the meateater know these odds. I guess when daddy went off
> to the hunt for stegosaurus and never came back it would sink in. I would be
> interested in a paper addressing how a walnut size brain figures all this
> out. But think they did.

Taking this scenario literally, it would only sink in if daddy told the family 
he was after a Stegosaurus before he set off.

Of course, one could imagine that Allosaurs learned by observation: they see 
daddy get spiked and decide that plate-backed things with spikey tails are best 
avoided. Or maybe the kids see that daddy doesn't hunt Stegosaurs, so they 
either. OTOH, if you just imagine that there are some Allosaurs who are wired 
be nervous of Stegs, and some who are not, then provided that Stegs are 
sufficiently dangerous natural selection will favour those who are 
Stegosaurus-averse, and no great reasoning power on the part of the therapod is 
required (I think it was Karl Popper who said that the advantage of 
was that your ideas could die instead of you).

However, I don't see how you could test any of these scenarios from the fossil 
record (unless we find a note saying "Gone to catch a Stegosaur for dinner - 
back soon" :-)