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Re: ceratopsian questions
Regarding Pat's question about the ceratopsian beaks...
I've wondered the same thing, especially when comparing skeletons to
reconstructions (which generally show the beak with a full-shearing
edge). My amateur hypothesis is that they were covered in horn or
similar substance, that would grow beyond the parameters of the bone and
create a surface more suitable for shearing/slicing.
I remember reading somewhere that the ceratopsians evolved along with a
"boom" in the evolution of cycads, and that the beaks might be a
development enabling them to tear into the pulpy inside of these plants,
which might make a "puncturing" reconstruction of the beak somewhat
justifiable. Anyone have any ideas on this?