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>When a part of an animal evolves some kind of offensive purpose, it usually is
>for intraspecies combat first.  Since the clubs could do considerable damage, I
>suspect that they were used in display behavior, so that the likelyhood of them
>actually coming to blows would be rare.  Granted, the tails certainly could've
>been used to break the knees of a predator, but this is a secondary function.

I dispute this reasoning.  (a) Just because offensive weapons are "usually"
for intraspecies combat it does not mean that you can conclude from this
that they always evolved for this purpose; (b) In living animals (as I said
before) weapons at the tail end are normally INTERspecific weapons, so the
analogy does not apply anyway (cf armadillos, crocodilians, porcupines).
There is absolutely no evidence that I am  aware of other than by (faulty)
analogy to suport claiming that antipredator actions were a secondary
function of ankylosaur tails.  We just don't know one way or another; and
remember that the primary force acting on their evolutionary development may
have shifted over time.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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