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Re: Triceratops Frills
>Has anyone done any studies showing a correlation between Triceratops (and
>related sp.) frill size and the jaw gape of the (presumed) predators? Is there
>an increase in size over time to cope with an increase in gape?
I would be skeptical of this since there were a few single horned ceratopians
around at the time.
>Sorry if this is a silly question, I'm an interested layman.
The only silly question is the one that goes unasked!
>Also, I've noticed (in films) that predators of big animals tend to try and
>grab the neck of the prey, either to break it or suffocate it. They try to
>stay well out of the way of kicking feet. Could we hypothesise that T. rex is
>perhaps designed for "head waggling" (I can't think of another term but it's
>what dogs do for example) with the prey's neck, to try and dispatch it
>quickly? It's got the weight to do it I would think.
Many people suggest that _T. rex_ hunting style may be similar to a great white
shark: a quick run in, make a huge bite, then wait for the animal to weaken
enough so it can safely move in to dispatch it's prey.
>Also, again, could the large "kicking" claw on (I can't remember the name but
>it begins with a D) be used for climbing on the backs of larger prey to get at
>the neck, rather than for disembowelling? Could one imagine predators which
>specialise in one type of prey, using one successfull killing technique (until
>the prey developed a counter-measure), rather than preying on all species?
Dienonychus was probably the one you were thinking about. In _Triceratops_, the
back of the neck is pretty well covered by the frill, so if a predator is to go
for the neck, it would have to do so from the underside.
There is an ecological rule that states that when the population of a prey
species dropps below carrying capacity, the more likely it is for an individual
to survive. As a result, most predators usually try to have more than one food
source, so if one prey species becomes rare (relative to the other species) they
can easily move to alternative food supplies. To see what happens when any
animal relies on one food source to much, refer to the Irish Potato Famine.