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GREAT WHOPPER HORNED DINOSAURS?



Funny how in science one thing leads to another. Recently I posted
observations on limb posture in horned ceratopsids, which led to further
observations by Jim Farlow, which got me looking at Martin Lockey's
ceratopsid (Ceratopsipes) trackways. This caused me to notice something
interesting. 

In medium sized ceratopsids weighing about 1.5 tonnes, like Centrosaurus and
Chasmosaurus, the hindfoot is a little over a third of a meter in diameter. 

The hindfoot of 5-6 tonne ceratopsids, Triceratops and Torosaurus, was about
half a meter or a little less in breadth. Bull elephants of the same size
also have feet about a half meter broad. So do juvenile 6 tonne sauropods
according to my models, figures and calculations. Some of the Ceratopsipes
footprints are in this size range (including the most complete set), so they
fit a typical sized Triceratops. 

What is kind of scary is that some of the Ceratopsipes prints are 0.6-0.8
meters across! These are in the size range of large sauropods. If the
ceratopsid feet that made them really were this big (in other words they are
not deeper ghost prints, or otherwise altered), then horned dinosaurs of 15
to 25 tonnes are implied (this is as big as large Apatosaurus). The
alternative, that there were much smaller bodied ceratopsids with really big
feet is very improbable because large animals tend to be fairly consistent in
foot dimensions relative to over all size. In a similar vein, tridactyl
trackways from the Jurassic and Cretaceous hint at bipedal ornithopeds and
hadrosaurs of 20 to 30 or more tonnes. 

Interesting. Very interesting. 

GSPaul