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Re: tails for defense



On Thu, 1 Dec 1994, John Schneiderman wrote:
> Also, Stegosaurus, like many herbivores, tend to congregate in herds or 
> large groups so that there are many eyes looking in all directions, and 
> ready to issue out warnings of approaching predators.

Ahh. That raises an interesting point! Typical behavior for many herd
mammals, when faced by a predator, is to form a circle with the young in
the middle and the dangerous horns facing outward. It's easy to see
ceratopsians doing the same thing if they had young to protect (though I
also like the idea that they might just charge any potential predator on
sight). But stegosaurs have all their offensive equipment at the other end. 
Would they circle up with their vulnerable little heads in the middle and
wave their tails at the attacker? 

BTW, much is made of the mating-signal value of ceratopsian horns and 
frills. Is anyone trying to interpret the various tail spikes and clubs 
that way, or are those still accepted as pure weaponry? If they did 
evolve as weapons, surely Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, at all, had some 
better way to aim them than to flail blindly.