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DEFENSIVE RINGS AGAIN



> Wild bovids (muskoxen, Cape buffalo, bison, etc.), which in many ways 
> appear to be the ecologic corollaries to ceratopsians, use their horns in 
> ring-defense of young, adults facing outward toward predators.  
> John McLoughlin

As I tried to show quite some time ago here on the list, the validity of
defensive rings as anti-predator responses is very suspect in modern animals,
let alone extinct ones. So far, I am aware of defensive rings reported in
horses, cape buffalo, reindeer, bison, (possibly) oryx, baleen whales, small
dolphins and musk ox. The only well documented cases (sigh, ASAIK) apply to musk
ox and I now think they're valid, having seen lots of photos of the beasts. BUT
musk oxen assume a roughly (very roughly) circular organisation even when not
on the defensive: presumably it suits their habitat and acts as a early warning
system. The objections about ring-formation in ceratopsians have been raised
previously by John Horner and Greg Paul, so I'll save you all some grief and not
repeat them.

The stuff about musk ox keeping the babies in the middle is probably bunk too,
as in the photos the babies form a large part of the circle rim!

Great to see you on the net John.

"Flying saucers are real. Period."

DARREN NAISH