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More pachys

 I'm a bit confused on what Paul believes to be a reasonable approach
 to science. It is SOP to develop a hypothesis based on one set of material
 and try to refute or corroborate it with other. Consequently. doing a detailed
 analysis of the post-crania to develop hypotheses originating from analyses
 of crania is the way it is done. It is good science and allows the researcher
 to make predictions for the post-crania based on hypotheses developed on
 the crania. That's what Galton did when he really developed the idea and
 why he was so confident in publishing when he noted that the proper
 articulation of the neck places the column in direct line with the dome
 itself, thus making forces caused by butting (head or flank) more
 manageable. The tongue-in-groove morphology of the vertebrae also argued
 very strongly for a butting function (again head or flank). The pachys put
 an amazing amount of resources into becoming butting machines and this
 would support a sexual role as well because birds and mammals tend to
 generate such bizarre structures for that reaon as well. Also note the
 follow-up work by Hans Sues, including photo-elastic studies.

 I'm not all that married to the head-butting hypothesis, as opposed to
 flank butting during intra-specific combat, but I've held domes in the
 hand and analyzed what I thought to be the possibilities and, frankly,
 the problem of glanced-blows is horribly over blown. The bone in that
 are of the skull is textured to anchor the skin and keep it more
 protected from the impacts and there would be relatively little problem
 head-butting from close proximity. Some form of head to head wrestling
 is common across tetrapods and this would not be unreasonable.

 So, it will take more to convince me that head-butting is unreasonable.
 Heck, if you look at Mountain sheep heads, it's amazing they butt
 and hit the small contact area they hit and, yes, glancing blows do kill
 a few but those are the breaks in the game of love. Certainly, from closer
 in the danger of these becomes close to nil. I miss Ken here because I
 would enjoy having him tell me I'm full of crap and having a good
 "discussion" on this here, although I have a feeling our differences
 would be relatively minor with him falling on the flank end. Gotta dig
 up a small he wrote on butting and will summarize for the group

 Ralph Chapman, NMNH