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re: dinosaur copulation




I haven't noted this brought up in discussion, so let me do so.
I'm sure most of us are aware that Peter Larson at BHIP (Sue's
original owners) has shown that Sue had several healed fractures
in her caudal vertebrae.  Larson also presented a very nice paper
at last year's SVP meeting showing that male and female T. rex's
have slight differences in the caudal chevrons posterior to the
pelvis.

   The point of this is that apparently male T. rex had a penile
retractor musculature like that of modern crocodilians (which
also have the same reduced caudal chevron).  Given this, there
can be no doubt that T. rex had intromittent coitus.

   Further, if Sue's broken caudals are correctly interpreted,
then they did indeed copulate conventionally (and ponderously).
And, if T. rex did so, certaily smaller dinosaurs did so.

    One other point, an old book on elephants by A.W. Crompton
noted that they really are virtually motionless while copulating,
which is probably applicable to large dinosaurs for mechanical
reasons.

    Finally, with Mesozoic coitus on one's mind, I recall a paper
several year's ago by Darren Tanke on mating in mosasaurs, in
which he hypothesized that they mated aquatically like modern
monitors, with the pair twisted around each other obliquely, both
lying partly on their sides (also the pattern of some snakes and
other lizards).  One alternative dinosaur posture in copulation
might be this sort of oblique mounting, with some of the male's
weight supported by part of the body lying on the ground (perhaps
on the tail?).

   I don't claim expertise in these matters.


David Schwimmer
Schwimm@uscn.cc.uga.edu