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Recently, I was standing in the Science Museum of Minnesota, admiring their=
mount of _Triceratops prorsus_, a mount built in the traditional vertical-f=
emur/horizontal-humerus fashion. As I stood there, an idea occurred to me. =
The design of this Triceratops looks remarkably similar to the suspension=
of your typical dune buggy. At first, I laughed this off, but as I thought=
more, it began to make more sense.
=46irst of all, the only bipedal ceratopian (Psittacosaurus) is found in=
both Europe and in Central Asia. Also, among the earliest of the=
ceratopians is little Protoceratops, an animal also found in Central Asia=
(with the suggestion that the change from bipedal-to-quadrapedal (BQ)=
occurred here). Also, the paleoenvironment of this region has been=
interpreted to be a rather arid environment, with several dune fields disco=
With this information, it seems reasonable to suggest that as the BQ=
transition occurred, evolutionary pressures would select the design that=
would work well under these conditions. By this reasoning, I can say with=
a great deal of certainty (and a small degree of levity) that sprawling=
posture in ceratopians is a desert adaptation; where Protoceratops was the=
dinosaurian equivalent of the dune buggy!
The pun is the lowest form of humor
--Unless you thought of it first!!!