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Re: T.rex head-butting



I doubt that intra-specific rival carnosaurs would resort to head-butting. On
many species (eg. Allosaurus, Carnotaurus, Ceratosaurus) the horns and ridges
on the head are apt to gouge out an eye on the opponent. The loss of an eye
would be almost as lethal as all out battle (biting, clawing). And on other
species (eg. Dilophosaurus), the ridges are too fragile to survive head-butting.
Rather, I suspect that they were brightly-colored ornamentation to allow fast
differentiation of species for mating and territorial rivalry, as has been
suggested by some paleontologists.
Maybe intraspecific rival carnosaurs engaged in non-lethal combat, such as is
practiced by some modern animals. In wolves, for instance, dominance is
established by battle until one manages to bite the throat of the opponent,
without applying any jaw pressure. In this way, it shows that it could have
killed its opponent, but there are no real casualties.
Interspecific rivalry may be different and quite lethal. Perhaps sometimes
intraspecific rivalry also got out of hand. Either could explain the damage on
Sue. Or do we even know that the damage to Sue's skull was not done by, say, a
Triceratops' horn, or by scavenging after a natural death?

Scott Horton
Geophysicist/Computer Programmer