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Re: Fuel for another debate

Mike Bonham (bonham@jade.ab.ca) writes:
[... large-jawed snip ...]
>How about another, possibly related question: why were tyrannosaurs' mouths
>so huge and toothy?  Of presently-living animals, few have jaws so large
>in proportion to the skull and rest of the body.  Various deep sea fish,
>frogs, crocodilians and baleen whales are about it, as compared to the
>mammalian carnivores and even sharks's proportionally smaller jaws.
>Why wouldn't tyrannosaurs have been able to kill using a smaller gape
>and fewer teeth, and then bit off smaller chunks at their leisure?
>Is the size of the jaw an indicator of some essential aspect of their
>lifestyle?  Perhaps taken together, a big mouth and small arms are clues
>to an important feature of their way of life.

Tonight's (6/7) NOVA had an interesting program about dino's entitled "The
Real JURASSIC PARK" that covered the idea of cloning from DNA on up to
trying to plan a diet -- interesting, I'm glad I taped it!

They touched on the subject of T-Rex's powerful arms and massive jaws. The
possibility they mentioned was the arms were used to somehow hold the prey.
The rationale they used was if a T-Rex bit into something like... say... a
triceratops, the tric' might rip out the T-Rex's teeth while trying to
escape. Being able to "hold" the prey might give the T-Rex some protection.
Wouldn't a massive muscular head (from the perspectve of the whole head, not
just as a support for the jaws) be a good idea if T-Rex were going after
large prey? I mean, if T-Rex took on something bigger, couldn't the prey
crush a less robust attacker? Wouldn't having a strong head make the T-Rex
less vulnerable to thrashing/hitting/whatever from its prey? Speaking from
as an enthusiast, NOT a professional!

Christopher Zguris