By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics

COVID-19 Pages

I now have seven COVID-19 pages I wrote and a link to a paid published article by my nephew. I had the top page according to Google on AM radio reception for about a decade. I am still close to the top. Check out these COVID-19 pages. I am too busy to waste your time.

Biological Hypotheses and Bio Facts Collected and Summarized

Naturally, I am most excited about my hypotheses, speculative guesses, just so stories, and research ideas. Many professors think they are impressive. But most of the web page views are of the collected and summarized biology facts. which are here.


These are my biological hypotheses, speculation, just so stories, and/or research ideas. I sometimes visit, e-mail or phone professors to present these ideas. The reception is normally positive. I am occasionally wrong, but much more often the problem is that someone else has already published the idea. Sometimes the other guy is a Nobel Prize winner. Usually, they are a distinguished professor or the idea was published in a top scientific journal. On the other hand, sometimes I am original. So perhaps you are enjoying tomorrow's science today.

Hypothesis on Why Predators Don't Eat Humans

Why do large predators so rarely eat humans? There are in the very rough neighborhood of a million mammals in the United States and Canada that when full grown are large enough to kill and eat a human. This happens about three or four times a year. On other continents and even in the oceans the story is roughly the same why. Short answer, they do not know that we aren't poisonous, in a sense we are. It is very dangerous for them to eat us. Long answer read the essay.

Sharks react to blood and engage in feeding frenzies. This essay provides new ideas on why sharks act this way. Like the above essay on land mammals, the key point is that sharks do not know we are not poisonous.

Would Predatory Dinosaurs Eat Us If They Lived Today? This page includes many stories about my friends and relatives very close encounters with bears.

If you like those stories about close encounters of the furry kind, here is a big collection of stories from my close friends and relatives on their adventures with bears.

The how and why of safety around North American mammal predators. This essay applies my speculation on predators to a practical guide for predator safety.

Disease Related Hypotheses

Why are whales so big? Why are they so much bigger than land mammals. Short answer, because there are no small mouse-sized mammals in the ocean to infect them with diseases. The essay includes some mention of the standard reasons, which I do not disagree with, but also several other new explanations related to the issue of communicable disease.

The extinction of megalodon, the giant shark, may have been key to the evolution of giant whales.

Why are redwoods and Sequoias so tall and massive? The same general argument as whales, they have no smaller relatives in their environment to infect them with diseases. Actually, they both have no relatives with common ancestors more recent than the age of dinosaurs in their environments.

In the Mesozoic, the age of dinosaurs, mammals were superior to the dinosaurs. The superior organizms claim the niches that have the most individuals for example small and herbivore. The inferior groups often do not go extinct rather they claim the booby prize niches which tend to include large and predator. For example, the large, predatory sharks are inferior to the bony fish. This is because an organizms close relatives carry diseases that infect the organizm, and the smaller more numerous organizms will typically evolve immunities to those diseases before their larger less numerous relatives.

Why was quetxalcoatlus the largest of the flying reptiles of the Mesozoic the last? Short answer, because the birds out-competed and drove into extinction the smaller flying reptiles or pterosaurs, so quetxalcoatlus, the last to the pterosaurs, had no smaller relatives to infect them with diseases so they could grow to huge sizes.

There are many major mysteries to the Mesozoic. Why were dinosaurs so big? Why did the dominate the mammals? Many of these mysteries can be explained if we assume closely related animals share communicable diseases.

It has been discovered recently that the large flightless birds of Africa, Australia, South America, New Zealand, and Madagascar evolved independently from birds that could fly. All of these birds are part of an ancient clad of birds, Palaeognathae, that diverged from all the other birds, the Neognathae. Therefore immune to diseases that are specific to Neognathae. This allows them to grow larger than other birds.

Crocodilians, crocodiles, alligators, and related reptiles, are cold-blooded, but they are descended from warm-blooded ancestors. This gives them a unique physiology that is naturally resistant to communicable diseases carried by animals that are not crocodilians. This is very useful in their niche as large predators.

Tuataras are larger than almost one hundred lizards endemic to New Zealand. The Tuataras are living fossils. The fact that they are not lizards gives them some protection from the diseases of the smaller lizards that they live with and sometimes eat.

Why are there so many big animals in Africa? It is because man evolved in Africa and therefore that is where our closest relatives live. Those relatives share most of the same diseases with us, so they are a source and reservoir of plagues that kept the African population in check allowing large animals to avoid extinction.

Old age and death, may have adaptive advantages. This essay suggests that in large animals old age and death may help contain venereal diseases that would otherwise make the population infertile, and ultimately extinct.

Other Hypothesizes

Why are colonial animals and plants so frequently poisonous?

Somewhat speculative version of standard story on the evolution of feathers and flight in birds

Collected Facts and Summaries

Summary of the Cenozoic, the Age of Mammals

Summary of the Mesozoic, the Age of Dinosaurs

Summary of the Paleozoic, Early fossils to the Age of Dinosaurs

What is the biggest living organism? Blue Whale vs. Giant Redwoods

List of largest animals in the ocean is several categories

An experiment. I am collecting the mistakes and ignorance of Jack Hanna from his appearances on the Letterman show.

Objective - Academic Publication

I intend to put several speculative pages here on biology. I am looking for qualified researchers who can turn the material into academic journal articles. We can share authorship.

Several biology professors from the University of California have suggested that I write at least one of the ideas here for a journal. One even suggested which journal.

On the other hand, the professors were not willing to work on the project. Giving encouragement is cheap, and may not mean much.

Nevertheless, the response to the ideas on disease was pretty universally positive among the professors, and I guess they are very busy with their own projects. I hope to find someone who is not too busy to participate in what I think will be a very important discovery.

If you are interested you can check my qualifications below.

Qualifications, such as they are

My training is in economics. I have a BA, MA, and PhC in economics. PhC means I was advanced to candidacy on a PhD. This is simply an official way of saying all but dissertation, ABD, all but dissertation on a PhD. I passed the course work, field exams, and orals for a PhD in economics. All my degrees are from the University of California, the BA is from the Santa Barbara campus, the other two degrees are from Davis. I also taught seven semesters full time in an Economics Department at Saint John's University, at the Queens campus in New York City.

Pesky Nobel Prize Winners

I kept running into the problem on my PhD dissertation that economics Nobel Prize winners had previously published my ideas. This happened three times with ideas in the dissertation, once with an idea outside the dissertation. Two of the ideas in the dissertation had previously been published by James Buchanan, and one by Gerry Becker. Many of my other ideas for the dissertation also turned out to be published by distinguished scholars who had not won Nobel prizes, but had published them in the top journals.

I particularly had a difficulty that Howard Margolis kept publishing my ideas first. I explained this difficulty to a genius who had been a child prodigy before he grew up. He warned me not hire a hit man to kill Margolis because Margolis would think of the idea and do it first.

It should be noted that the real problem was I was too lazy to finish. But note, my weakness could be the basis for your success.

Praise from Economics Professors

Even if they did not accept my dissertation or want to give me the PhD. the committee members did think I came up with good ideas. One professor from my dissertation committee said I was potentially the best graduate student the economics department at the University of California at Davis had ever had. I took a course from him on research. After we turned in the first assignment he came back and said none of you know how to come up with a research project except Richard and he is great. Another professor from the committee said my thinking was better than all the other graduate students and the majority of the professors.

If you want to see some of my thinking in my own field, economics, click here for the economics index page.

Praise from Professors outside Economics

Many professors outside of economics have also recognized the value of my ideas. A math professor who specialized in game theory said one of my ideas was the best idea that he had seen in game theory in a long time, then he said there had not been any good ideas in game theory in a long time. Still, that is pretty good for a guy who has never taken a course or read all the way through a book on game theory.

I also took an idea I had in number theory to the University of California, Davis math department. A professor with a concentration on number theory said, it is as if you have discovered a new planet, one that goes in the opposite direction of all the other planets. This was because I pointed out that a number had a characteristic which was very rare. The former child prodigy mentioned above further researched the topic and showed the characteristic was extremely rare and quite probably unique. A math professor at St. John's, where I taught economics, also showed interest, and there was some talk about how the problem might be published in a book on unsolved problems in number theory. I think this is pretty good for a guy whose only background in number theory was listening to a five-minute digression in an undergraduate class. It is sort of like producing research on insects that scholars find interesting when all you know is that insects have six legs.

The point of all this is that I sure it seems strange that I would try to answer all these questions in biology, when I have only taken a Junior College course in physical anthropology since I left tenth grade biology, but as these examples illustrate I have made rather a habit of doing research in many fields that I have little formal training over the years. Many professors at top research institutions have found the ideas impressive, and as mentioned above some of the impressed professors were in biology.

If you want to cooperate on a publication or have found one or more fatal errors in my reasoning you can pass on your insights in a private e-mail or post on a public bulletin board by clicking here.

Biology Index Page

Contact Information

Last updated August 31, 2016