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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).
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.
John C. McLoughlin