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Stephen Throop noted in a recent message that the switch from
Stegosaurs to Nodosaurs might have been linked to
the switch from allosaurian grab-hunters to tyrannosaur impact-hunters.
Makes sense, and reminds me of another idea which came up
when I was working with David Alden to edit his article on
Acrocanthosaurs for Dinosaur Discoveries #1. If the theory
that Acro... was the "last and best" of the Allosaurs is
true, then it should be noted that Acro had a bigger head
and smaller arms than Allosaurus. That might mean that
some general (environmental?) change was taking place that
made allosaurian grab-and-bite less effective and impact-bite
the way to go. Acros might well reflect a last desperate
and failed attempt by Allos to turn into pure impact hunters.
When Allos/Acros couldn't manage to make the final evolutionary
step, the coelurosaurs spawned the mega-coelurosaurs which we
know and love as Tyrannosaurs.
Now, so far as I know (and I know relatively little being an
engineer and an intelligence analyst not a paleontologist) there
isn't enough information yet to determine if the switch from
grab to impact came as a result of the switch from stego to nodo,
or was caused by something else and in turn caused the stego/nodo
Anyone else got any thoughts on this? I think we're onto something
here, and if there are any more parts of this puzzle laying
around we might get a better picture.