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Dilophosaurus and JP, etc.
Just a few comments...I checked JP again and found no reference to the
dilophosaur having a frill. It was brightly colored and had the paired
crests, but no frill. (unless I missed the section where the frill was
mentioned...) Although, I think the addition of the frill showed a bit of
clever thinking on their part. Animals that spit or otherwise deliver venom
might employ some visual device which causes intended victims to look at the
animal. This allows the venom to be delivered into a sensitive area - the
eyes, disabling the prey or rendering it much less able to fight back or even
flee. The Indian cobra is one such example, able to spit venom 2 meters or
more, with a display device ("hood" with special markings on it).
Can the mechanisms required (tendons, muscles, etc.) to attach and operate a
frill be disproven by current specimens? Are there any skulls of sufficient
quality for this type of diagnosis? Would marking for tendon and muscle
attachments even be discernable on a perfectly preserved specimen? I'm the
first to admit this type of analysis is beyond me; I defer to professionals
on this matter.
In Greg Paul's "Predatory Dinosaurs of the World", he relates that some have
proposed that dilophosaurus had a snout that was too weak to attack prey, and
that it must have used its feet to kill or mostly scavenged for food.
Although Paul refutes this argument with an assertation that the snout is
better braced than was previously thought, if someone involved in JP had
subscribed to this "weak snout" theory, then spitting venom would be a
reasonable alternative IMHO. Paul (ibid.) also states that the crests were
constructed of very thin sheets of bone, and were display devices only, never
used for combat. Whether the delicacy of the structures can be correctly
used to deduce dilophosaurs did not attack with their jaws may never be
proven, but venom-spitting is a reasonable possibility, too.
Lyle P. Blosser