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Re: the ankylosaur/nodosaur thing



Norm King writes;

>A comparison with living animals might be helpful here.  Do elk and
>moose have any advantage in the face of predation over mule deer?
>After all, they have larger antlers than mule deer.  Are pronghorns
>at a disadvantage compared to mule deer, since their horns are
>smaller than the deer antlers?  Then, does the advantage switch to
>pronghorn when the deer drop their antlers?  Are goats a step below
>pronghorns, perhaps needing heightened senses of smell and sight to
>compensate for smaller horns?

During the recent discussion of ankylosaur clubs, someone commented that
 when an offensive structure is placed on the head, it is usually meant for
 intraspecies combat, while offensive structures placed on the tail are
 usually meant for interspecies combat (ie. fending off predators).  The
 real question of advantage among ungulates deals simply with "who is faster
 than who?"  So the answers to all your questions are, "No."

>Maybe I've missed the point, too, and I don't mean to be comparing
>apples with oranges, but I suspect that predator/prey relationships
>were about as complex during the Mesozoic as today.  We might be
>prone to make superficial, anatomy-based inferences about dinosaur
>lifestyles/competition were it not for sobering comparisons with
>living animals.

Ecological rules don't change over time, only the players do (my
 interpretation of evolutionary theory).  Therefore, one could take a
 modern ecosystem, and extrapolate back to the Mesozoic.  So your
 premise is accurate.

Rob

***
"The larch!"
     -MPFC