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Re: _Parasaurolophus'_ crest and how much we can't deduce from it.



On Fri, 8 Mar 1996, Betty Cunningham wrote:

> >Actually, your trumpet/flueggel horn points out that subtle changes in the
> > air flow can produce a very different sound (consider ol' Domingo's vocal
> > range again). 
> 
> 
> -Betty

I hesitate to differ with so many folk with such strong opinions, but 
it's long been my suspicion that at least part of the function of the 
convoluted nasal passages of some hadrosaurs was moisture retention via 
condensation.  The "mummified" hadrosaurs look an awful lot like 
"mummified" cows that die here in arid New Mexico; my feeling has been 
that perhaps hadrosaurs either inhabited or habitually crossed regions 
where there was comparatively little water, and that, like camels, they 
had nasal passages designed to condense water from exhaled air by passing 
said air along or near the periphery of the body so that its temperature 
dropped somewhat before it left the body.  

The old model of hadrosaurs' having been swamp-dwelling "duckbills" 
swilling gloop like dabbling mallards has never worked for me.  Though 
most fossils are created in watery environments, death need not have 
taken place there, as many a floodborne "mummified" cow, caught in arroyo 
flashfloods, has shown me in the badlands west of here.  

Can someone offer me comment on this [perhaps silly] notion of mine, that 
hadrosaur nostrils might at least in part have been sophisticated 
water-retention devices?  In this group it seems awfully certain that 
their primary function was as trombones, but my experience suggests that 
many, if not most, signalling structures are elaborated from those in 
which more physiological functions originally predominated.

Many thanks.

John C. McLoughlin