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Re: Ceratopian jaws (my last bow)

From: "Van and Kathy Smith" <vksmith@dwx.com>

 > It seems to me that greatly elongated jaw muscles would be primarily an
 > adaptation to drive the jaws over a greatly extended range.  
 >... Perhaps ceratopians adapted to eat or chew through very large
 > things -- tree bark perhaps, or maybe they would actually chew down
 > trees to get to the leaves.

Something like this has been sugggested before.

However, I am skeptical.  If an animal as abundant as _Triceratops_
was biting down tree, then any forest would be converted into an
open parkland.  There is little evidence for widespread parkland style
vegetation in the Lance/Hell Creek formations.  On the contrary,
the leaves look more like those of a closed deciduous or semi-deciduous

[Sigh, I forgot to get my Lancian floral list together  perhaps tomorrow].

[P.S.  I seem to remember that "_Dryophyllum" subfalcatum_ has been
reassigned to a different genus - am I right, and what genus is it?].

 > On a completely different tact, is it possible that neck muscles attached
 > to these frill sites?  For animals with such huge heads that were so
 > obviously useful for combat,

Actually, the "combat" may have been very ritualized in most species,
taking the form more of a shoving and wrestling match.  In fact the
the only ceratopsian really likely to have engaged in aggressive
combat is _Triceratops_, and it has the *closed* frill. (And even
for _T._ the argument for aggressive combat is uncertain).

swf@elsegundoca.ncr.com         sarima@ix.netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.