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Baja-ing Dinosaurs



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=
vered.

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!

Any comments?

Rob

***
The pun is the lowest form of humor
     --Unless you thought of it first!!!