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Re: Student Question...

 > Dear Paleontologist,
 >      Is it treue that a meteorite killed the dinosaurs?  Also, is it
 > true that triceratops protects it's self by it's shield?

These are very good questions.

For the first, the answer is simply not yet known.  A meteorite
apparently did strike the coast of what is now Mexico at about
the time the donosaurs died out, and it probably at least
contributed to the demise of the dinosaurs, but it may not
have been the only contributor.  Some very unusual, very extensive,
volcanic eruptions were happening at that time in India, and the
ocean level had dropped to a very low level.  (In fact it is only
in very recent times that the ocean reached a *lower* level).
So these may also have helped the extinctions along.

As to the shield, the answer is probably yes for Triceratops
itself but no for the other horned dinosaur.  And even in Triceratops
its main function was probably display - to make the male
Triceratops look big and tough.  And its protective function
was mainly to protect the male Triceratops when they fought
with each other, not to protect it against predators.

swf@elsegundoca.attgis.com              sarima@netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.