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Re: T.rex head-butting

On Wed, 15 Jun 1994, Scott wrote:

> 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
I am convinced, using modern reptilian and avian behavior studies, that
although some theropods (ex. Dilophosaurus) may not have used
head-butting, the largely ornamented ridges and hornlets on creatures like
Allosaurus, Carnotaurus, and Tyrannosaurus were used for intraspecific
combat and not just for good looks.  As to mode of butting, too much
big-horn sheep or pachycephalosaur head knocking is envisioned...try a
more subtle head-to-head pushing or head to body slams.
John Schneiderman