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Re: "Plate" Tectonics



In a message dated 95-12-08 19:43:26 EST, Robert.J.Meyerson@uwrf.edu (Rob
Meyerson) writes:

>What is the latest ideas regarding the plate function (and attachment) of
>_Stegosaurus_?  Where they as moveable as some claim?  If so, why?  I assume
>they had some display purposes, but this couldn't be the only explanation,
or
>we'd probably see the same sizes in plates in most genera (unless one is
>going
>to make an analogy to rainforest birds, with their varying feather
>morphologies)?
>
>

Farlow, Thompson & Rosner's hypothesis of thermoregulation--the plates as
forced-air cooling fins--was proposed in the mid-1970s and remains the only
hypothesis of stego plate function that has actually been scientifically
tested (with models in a wind tunnel). It passed, in the sense that its
prediction of highly vascularized alternating plates as the most efficient
cooling arrangement is actually realized in _Stegosaurus_ and _?Diracodon_.
The fairly broad bases of stego plates don't really permit much movement, so
it does not seem likely that they were raised and lowered in the living
animals. As far as display goes, I find it inconceivable that such large and
visually interesting structures were not used for that purpose; but that
would be the icing on the cake, so to speak.