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Troodon and the Dinosauroid Hypothesis

Posted by: Lyle Blackburn on December 23rd, 2013

In a chapter entitled “Possibilities” from my new book, Lizard Man, I discuss various theories which have been proposed to explain sightings of reptilian-humanoid type cryptids.  One of these theories is based on the concept of a “Hypothetical Dinosauroid,” which is a conjectured evolutionary path conceived by D.A. Russell and R. Séguin and published in 1982 in the National Museum of Canada’s Syllogeous No. 37.  In the paper,  Russell and Séguin essentially hypothesize that if the brain of this dinosaur had continued to grow in proportion to its body, then evolutionary changes would have been necessary to accommodate the new cranial mass. One of these changes would have been a more upright stance, since the “tendency to position the head more directly over the vertebral column is seen in anthropoids of increasing brain size.” This would conceivably lead to more anthropomorphic legs, longer arms, and most dramatically, a human-like head. It’s an interesting concept, and one that I discuss further in my book (as it relates to cryptozoology).

Along these lines, I came across this interesting video which provides additional information and visuals in regard to the concept of the Dinosauroid and reptilian humanoids in general:

From the YouTube description:

This documentary explores the phenomenon of the “Reptilians” from a different point of view than most. The film makers attempt to bring forth the most compelling evidence for the existence of the “serpent race” in an organized and serious manner.

lm

Lyle Blackburn About Lyle Blackburn
Lyle Blackburn is an author and musician from Texas. His investigative cryptozoology books, "The Beast of Boggy Creek" and "Lizard Man," reflect his life-long fascination with legends and sighting reports of real-life 'monsters.' During his research, Lyle has often explored the remote reaches of the southern U.S. in search of shadowy creatures said to inhabit the dense backwoods and swamplands of these areas. Lyle is a featured speaker at cryptozoology and horror conferences around North America. He has been heard on numerous radio programs, including COAST TO COAST, and has appeared on television shows such as MONSTERS & MYSTERIES IN AMERICA, FINDING BIGFOOT, and the CBS SUNDAY MORNING SHOW. For more information, visit Lyle's website at: www.lyleblackburn.com


13 Responses to “Troodon and the Dinosauroid Hypothesis”

  1. cryptokellie responds:

    Unfortunately, there are problems with the Dinosauroid hypothesis, not the least of which is the fact that no dinosaurs survived the KT boundary. Don’t start with the birds are dinosaurs angle because the birds that survived the KT were already that – birds and no longer true dinosaurs. A troodon type theropod evolving into a human-like Dinosauroid would take millions of years and some record would be left of that transformation. The troodont line along with other sickle-clawed, “raptor” dinosaurs such as velocirator were on their way to becoming more bird-like and not paralleling any kind of human evolution. Troodonts were developing more avian-like characteristics in terms of skeletal formation and limb configuration – especially the ankle. The hands of troodon would most likely never attain the specialized grasping abilities that primate hands are as the digits of the dromaeosaur group were in general getting longer not shorter. The dinosaurian/avian hip arrangement would not allow for a fully erect bipedal stance/gait as well. There are many other difficulties which the Dinosauroid idea but lets leave at this for now.

  2. RandyS responds:

    The main problem with the Dinosauroid hypothesis is that it assumes that an advanced, technology-using entity is the inevitable result continued evolution. Clearly, looking around at the living creatures who share this world with us, that is not necessarily the case. A larger brain is not a prerequisite for the continued existence of a species, only enough brain to insure survival is required. To say that the environmental and social factors which combined to eventually give us our larger brains would necessarily occur to a reptilian species on its way to developing larger brains, with the same results, is wishful thinking at best.

  3. cryptokellie responds:

    RandyS makes excellent points where I left off. Large brain size means very little in the bigger scheme of existence. The Sperm Whale has the largest brain of any animal on the planet although what it needs all that cerebral matter for is unknown since dinosaurs of equal and far larger size seem to have done quite well with far smaller brain mass. It is common belief that dolphins and other cetaceans are very intelligent and perhaps they are yet they possess no technology – mostly because they don’t need it – but what are they doing with all that brain power? No one knows. Many insects perform all the predatory actions including stealth and ambush tactics that mammalian predators use to acquire prey items with very little actual brain mass. Head to body size ratio is not an indication of brain size. A crocodile’s head can be almost 1/3 of it’s entire body length yet the croc’s brain is rather small yet despite this, they are quite intelligent and have done very well for over 240 million years. There would seem to no real need for a troodont theropod to assume human proportions to evolve and creating a model of one that has is fun to do but not really logical.

  4. DWA responds:

    RandyS: right. We are not the apex of evolution for any other reason than that we think we are. Remember who’s making the judgment. We blatantly stack the deck. Our hypertech may be as much of an evolutionary dead end as the Irish elk’s antlers or Smilodon’s fangs.

    Cryptokellie: A lot of assumptions are in your post, both about evolution and about the completeness of our assessment of extinct life. Paleoanthropology is only now starting to find out how superficial distinctions based on bone morphology alone may be. Not just that. Some record might be left of this transformation and – as annual finds of new dinosaur species indicate is possible – just not be found yet. We also can’t assume the direction evolution will take; as RandyS points out, we stack the deck there, too, presuming things will go in the “cool” direction.

    I’m not jumping all over this, now; in fact I almost wasn’t gonna read this blog, because I don’t think it’s a safe bet. But I can’t assume it’s impossible when the evidence is inadequate.

  5. cryptokellie responds:

    DWA:

    I make no claims of any certainties to be gleaned from the fossil record – much to the contrary.

    Certainly, an entire universe of discoveries await in the yet to be unearthed fossil record. When I was a boy in the fifties, dinosaurs were 180 degrees different than they are thought to be now some fifty-odd years on. Could there be an evolved troodon type theropod which brought it’s line to a much more advanced form? Yes, there could be but, it would not be a humanoid in form because the fossil record that is available is pointing that these dinosaurs were moving more towards avian than human. Evolutionary traits do not go in any cool direction, they either work for the animal’s survival or are dropped and if poor evo-choices are made, than the animal is not successful and it’s line is discontinued.

  6. sasquatch responds:

    Ahh, if ain’t old (un)true-don’t again.
    It’s funny reading the posts about this too.-
    Uh, I think that the evolution of lizard men is impossible because; er… uh…(thinking of some way to sound intelligent),
    Millions of years, uh feathers, I mean, uh scales, er…saber teeth uh, etc. etc…
    Let’s put it this way; If your presuppositions are off, then you’ll never get the right answer.

  7. cryptokellie responds:

    Sasquatch;
    Not wanting to sound too intelligent but…dinosaurs were not lizards. Aside from both being classed as reptiles, which can be argued for or against in the case of dinosaurs, completely different. If you had been studying the subject for over 55 years, taught the subject at the college level and provided sculptures for collections/museums as I have, you would know this. I presume nothing. I only state that the present fossil record of the Troodontidae group shows a tendency of evolving toward more avian in certain physical characteristics. These include; feathers, pneumatic bone structure, distinctly avian limb structure – especially the wrist/hand and ankle/foot, among others. This trend is the opposite of primate/human direction of heavier bone structure, reduced hand/phalanges and foot/tarsal structure. I’m guessing that you know that no primates have feathers…not naturally at any rate.

  8. maslo63 responds:

    Cryptokellie,
    I take issue with your statement that birds are not true dinosaurs. This makes no sense as a living thing cannot evolve outside of its group. A bird is as much a dinosaur as Triceratops and no amount of evolution will change that. In fact, all theropod (meat eating) dinosaurs were more closely related to birds than the other dinosaur groups. Within theropods many (like Velociraptor) were more closely related to birds than to other theropods. So no, not all dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous and yes, birds are true dinosaurs. The only difference between them and non-avian dinosaurs is that they survived. If mammals experienced a mass die-off with only bats as the survivors, bats would still be true mammals.

  9. cryptokellie responds:

    No dinosaurs have been discovered that could fly. For some mysterious reason, dinosaurs proper did not occupy either the air or the sea. Now if you want to say that dinosaurs and birds arose from the same archosaur beginnings…ok, birds are very close relatives of dinosaurs in the same way that crocodilians are closely related to dinosaurs. But no dinosaur proper has been discovered that could fly. By the time their ancestors had developed the traits necessary to allow for full flight, these animals had become…birds and were and are no longer true dinosaurs.

    Having studied dinosaurs for over 50 some odd years, no one more than I would like to see some kind of dinosaur still in existence. Your statement about triceratops is misguided in terms that certainly the bird/dinosaur relatives branched off from the saurischian or lizard-hipped ancestors eons before the ornithischian or bird-hipped dinosaurs evolved and became abundant. In fact the cretaceous dinosaur triceratops lived along side many forms of truly modern birds, some of which did indeed survive the KT boundary…unlike triceratops. Saying a bird is as much of a dinosaur as triceratops is akin to saying that a Blue Whale is also a hippopotamus as they share the same anthracothere ancestor.

    Try to understand that ancestral birds evolved alongside ancestral dinosaurs as dinosaurs and birds and mammals evolved into the many different animals that we know today. As of this moment, dinosaurs are classified as reptiles. This may change with increasingly collected data but they can never be classified as birds. Birds are classified as birds for a reason. They are different enough – no matter what they evolved from – to have there own class, Aves.

  10. maslo63 responds:

    You claim to have studied dinosaurs for 50 years and I believe it but most of the advances in dinosaur sciences have occurred much more recently and perhaps you’re not up to speed on them. Your uses of older taxonomy indicates this as well. Traditionally yes, dinosaurs are reptiles but Linnaean taxonomy has given way to cladistics. Most modern scientists agree that “reptile” is an invalid form of classification because it lumps unrelated groups of animals together while ignoring others that are related. Crocodilians are reptiles but are in reality much more closely related to birds (as archosaurs) which are left out of reptiles. This makes the class reptilia paraphyletic. It does not matter what we classify something as, they are what they are molecular and fossil evidence shows us this.

    You say that no dinosaur has been discovered that could fly. They have…they’re called birds. This is why we now make a distinction between avian and non-avian dinosaurs. Still, dinosaurs like Microraptor could at least glide if not fly and don’t forget Archeopteryx which is just as much a dinosaur as it is a bird. Highly specialized though they may be, birds are dinosaurs as much as bats are mammals. There aren’t any other flying mammals either but that changes nothing in the classification of bats. Birds don’t stop being dinosaurs based on their ability to fly, that would be silly. And no, there is no evidence that birds and dinosaurs arose from separate archosaur lineages. All the evidence points to birds evolving from dinosaurs directly and 99% of the scientific community will back me up on this.

    I used Triceratops as an example because modern scientists define dinosaurs as…”the group consisting of Triceratops, Neornithes [modern birds], their most recent common ancestor, and all descendants.” Basically this means that Triceratops and modern birds are as distantly related as possible while both still being dinosaurs. One is still just as much a dinosaur as the other. You’re Hippo/whale analogy is bogus because I’m not saying Triceratops is a bird or that birds are Triceratops. I’m saying they’re both dinosaurs, which they are. Hippos and whales share a common ancestor (like birds and Triceratops) but we all know one did not evolve from the other, that does not mean they are not both classified under Cetartiodactyla.

    I’m not asking that dinosaurs be classified as birds, that is a silly assumption. Dinosaurs are reptiles but that means birds are also reptiles because they evolved from theropod dinosaurs. Basically, all birds are dinosaurs but not all dinosaurs were birds and Linnaean taxonomy be damned, that is just the way it is until sufficient evidence shows otherwise. An animal cannot evolve outside of its parent group. No matter how specialized, birds and any decedents they produce will always be dinosaurs.

    I would have thought this argument would have have ended with the discovery of how many feathered dinosaurs? And the advance of cladistic classification but perhaps some people are just slow to catch up. Don’t take that as an insult, dinosaur science is progressing very fast.

    In case you’re not up to speed on cladistics it is defined as…”a method of classification of animals and plants according to the proportion of measurable characteristics that they have in common. It is assumed that the higher the proportion of characteristics that two organisms share, the more recently they diverged from a common ancestor.”
    This is why Tyrannosaurus and a sparrow are more closely related than Tyrannosaurus is to Triceratops, because the Tyrannosaurus and sparrow share more shared characteristics. You cannot classify both Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops as dinosaurs and ignore birds when in fact the Tyrannosaurus shares more characteristics with birds, that makes no sense. This does not mean Tyrannosaurus is a bird or that birds are Tyrannosaurus but they are both coelurosaur theropods.

  11. sasquatch responds:

    Now, wait a minute; dinosaurs were not lizards but were birds? oye…I think some of you are reptilians…from planet knowitallitous of the fargone system in the unreachable quadrant known as everlearningbutneverabletocometotheknowledgeofthetruth.

  12. cryptokellie responds:

    The relationships of ancestral coelurosaur theropod dinosaurs and ancestral birds are very close, perhaps one and the same, but the fact remains that once the evolutionary line from ancestral form (dinosaurian or otherwise) was crossed and the complete change in body form, structure and details which now occur in no other group, these animals appearing in the late Cretaceous had become birds and were no longer dinosaurs.

  13. maslo63 responds:

    Sasquatch: Dinosaurs were not birds, birds are dinosaurs. Is it really a difficult concept to grasp? Just like humans are mammals but not all mammals are human. Dinosaurs are not lizards either but both are reptiles. Lizards are a group of squamate reptiles that appeared in the Jurassic period, dinosaurs were already around since the Triassic. Dinosaurs belong to a group of reptiles called archosaurs. Squamates (lizards and snakes) and archosaurs (dinosaurs, pterosaurs, crocodilians) share a distant common ancestor but are otherwise unrelated outside of both being reptiles.

    Cryptokellie: I don’t know what I can say that has not already been stated except that 99% of science strongly disagrees with you and for good reason. You need to put aside old methods of classification, they no longer make sense in light of how we know evolution works. You cannot classify birds as separate from dinosaurs when they arose from dinosaurs.
    Perhaps it is difficult to grasp because birds are alive and non-avian dinosaurs are extinct but if you were to travel back to early Cretaceous China you would be hard pressed to distinguish birds from dinosaurs. There were birds with teeth, birds with tails, birds with clawed hands (there still are) all running around with feathered dinosaurs that could glide, some that lacked teeth, some that only had short stumpy tails. Look at the fossil record and you will see that you cannot distinguish birds from dinosaurs. And that makes sense in light of evolution. There is no line you can draw in the sand that says “this bird is not a dinosaur” and there wouldn’t be. Birds will always be dinosaurs, dinosaurs adapted for flight that still carry all the key characteristics of dinosaurs as a group. Just like bats are mammals specialized for flight and whales are mammals specialized for aquatic environments. They will never stop being mammals.

    Still don’t follow me? Try this.
    “a majority of contemporary paleontologists concerned with dinosaurs reject the traditional style of classification in favor of phylogenetic nomenclature; this approach requires that, for a group to be natural, all descendants of members of the group must be included in the group as well. Birds are thus considered to be dinosaurs and dinosaurs are, therefore, not extinct. Birds are classified as belonging to the subgroup Maniraptora, which are coelurosaurs, which are theropods, which are saurischians, which are dinosaurs.”
    This is a quote that can be found on wikipedia but sourced from the book “The Dinosauria”, pages 210–231.



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