For help on how to follow a comic title,
Me: Calvin, here’s a dinosaur-related math problem. Shantungosaurus (discovered in China) and Edmontosaurus (discovered in Canada and the USA) were both hadrosaurs, or “duck-billed” dinosaurs, of the late Cretaceous. Shantungosaurus was about 42 feet long, and Edmontosaurus was at least 30 feet long. Shantungosaurus, therefore, was longer than Edmontosaurus by what percent?
Calvin: Let’s see…Shantungosaurus was 40% longer than Edmontosaurus.
Calvin had still had 15 minutes the previous night. He could have written something like, “Was Tyrannosaurus rex a predator or a scavenger? It seems likely that T. rex was mostly predatory, because its skeletal features suggest that it was too well-designed for feeding only on carrion (meat scavenged from already deceased animals). Like the tails of other tetanuran theropod dinosaurs, the tail of T. rex was stiffened for most of its length, which increased this animal’s balance as it ran. Its forward-facing eyes would have enabled it to see what was necessary for it to do in order to overcome its prey. T. rex’s two-fingered arms were too small to have been used in hunting, but its teeth and toe claws would have sufficed. T. rex was from the late Cretaceous, and its prey included herbivorous dinosaurs such as Edmontosaurus, Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurus, and Ankylosaurus. With sufficient notice, T. rex may have been able to dodge Triceratops’s horns and Ankylosaurus’s tail club. Present-day predators, such as tigers, tend to focus on the older, weaker individuals of their herbivorous prey, such as chital and other deer. Doing so strengthens the numbers of the herbivores, and prevents them from becoming too numerous for the habitats to support. This is what predatory dinosaurs may have done, as well. Herbivores are needed for maintaining the spread and diversity of the vegetation, but carnivores are needed for controlling their numbers. If T. rex had been a scavenger, then it wouldn’t have been able to control the herbivorous dinosaurs’ numbers. Predators hunt other animals only to survive; they should not be regarded as ‘cruel’ because of their diet. Like other species, predators are essential to the balance of nature. The end”.
He should have a thought bubble that reads, “She never fixes too much for me”, although that’s what his expression in the third panel seems to imply.
Yes, there is. However, I agree with Calvin that T. rex was (mostly) a predator. Its forward-facing eyes would have made it better at seeing what was necessary for it to do to overcome its prey, such as Edmontosaurus, Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurus, and Ankylosaurus. With sufficient notice, T. rex could have dodged Triceratop’s horns and Ankylosaurus’s tail club. Like other tetanuran theropods’ tails, that of T. rex was stiffened by bony tendons, and this increased its balance as it pursued its prey. Even though T. rex’s two-fingered arms were too small to have been used in hunting (this is one of the reasons for the debate over the creature’s dietary habits), its teeth and toe claws would have sufficed. Present-day predators, such as tigers, tend to focus on the older, weaker individuals of their prey, such as chital and other deer. Doing so strengthens the numbers of the prey species, and prevents them from becoming too numerous for their habitats to support. Predatory dinosaurs most likely did this with their prey, as well. Herbivores are needed to maintain the spread and diversity of the vegetation, but carnivores are needed to control the herbivores’ numbers. If T. rex had been only a scavenger, it wouldn’t have been able to control the herbivorous dinosaurs’ numbers. Predators hunt other animals only to survive; they shouldn’t be considered cruel because of their diet. Like other species, predators are important to the balance of nature. Furthermore, predators don’t always get their prey; the prey species often escape or fight back.
Calvin’s Mom: Calvin, what did Deinonychus eat?
Calvin: Mom, its main prey was the plant-eating ornithopod dinosaur Tenontosaurus.
Calvin’s Mom: When and where did these dinosaurs live?
Calvin: In western North America during the early Cretaceous, about 45 million years before T. rex.
Calvin’s Mom: How big were they?
Calvin: Deinonychus (“terrible claw”) weighed about 50 pounds, and was about 3½ feet tall and 10 feet long including its 6-foot tail, which was stiffened by bony tendons for balance as this theropod ran. The longest claw on each of its feet measured about 7 inches along the outer curve when the dinosaur was alive (the bony core alone was about 5⅓ inches long, but it would have been longer with the keratinous sheathe). Deinonychus had about 64 backward-facing teeth, up to half an inch long. Tenontosaurus (“tendon lizard”) was 2¾ feet high at its hips, and 12¾ feet long including its 7¾-foot tail. Its tail, like Deinonychus’s, was stiffened by bony tendons for balance. Tenontosaurus weighed approximately 270 pounds. Fossil evidence indicates that Deinonychus hunted in packs to bring down Tenontosaurus.*
*I’ve calculated this from information provided by The Complete Dinosaur (©1997) by James O. Farlow and M. K. Brett-Surman (editors) and by the The Dinosaur Society’s Dinosaur Encyclopedia of (©1993) by Don Lessem and Donald F. Glut.
Isn’t “big-boned” supposed to be hyphenated?
Jon, you should appreciate how lucky you are to be able to drive at all. I can’t drive.
Imagine how Calvin’s Dad would react to Looney episodes featuring Taz, the Tasmanian devil (for instance, ‘Bedevilled Rabbit’): “That’s not what Tasmanian devils are like in real life at all. They don’t spin around, boring their way through trees and anything else in their path, and they’re mostly scavengers (although they do sometimes take lizards and other small prey). Also, it should be mentioned that Tasmanian devils are marsupials, like kangaroos (such as Hippety Hopper).”
Neither do I. Jon once mentioned that he went to school with a girl named Euphemia Hinkle, but he didn’t laugh then.
Imagine if Calvin were watching “Mary Poppins”. Do you remember the scene where Mary sings “A Spoonful of Sugar”, and she magically organizes the nursery by snapping her fingers? Jane is able to do this as well, but Michael can’t do it at first. Soon, he can, but just as he snaps his fingers and makes the books on the floor fly into his hands, Jane snaps her fingers and makes the wagon carry him into the closet. I could picture Calvin shouting, “KNOCK IT OFF, JANE!” and “STOP HER, MARY!”.