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THERMOREGULATORY FRILL



Found the stuff on Barrick's theory of _Triceratops_ frill as thermoregulatory
at last. The text below is from _Geology Today_ 12 (2): 43. Published in 1996,
it should be cited as ANON.

Fans of _Triceratops_: _Triceratops_ had three horns and a 'frill', or frilly
collar. The point of the horns is easy to understand, but why the frill? To
attract the opposite sex? Unlikely; such displays in nature are usually confined
to the males, whereas both male and female _Triceratops_ have a frill. Extra
protection (i.e. extra to the horns)? Unlikely again; although made of bone, the
frill is weakened by being full of holes. _The Economist_ (25 November 1995)
quotes Reese Barrick 'a clever young man from Carolina', as regarding the
_Triceratops_ frill as a heat-emitting device - a radiator. The large holes in
the frill are apparently to reduce the weight and hence pressure on the neck.
The small ones, however, are to allow the passage of blood, thus distributing
heat and allowing it to radiate away. The 'proof' of the radiator theory comes
from oxygen isotopes. O-18 preferentially seeks cold sites; O-16 goes towards
warmer ones. The horns have high O-18 (cold) and the body bones have high O-
16 (warm), but the frill has high O-16 in the centre and high O-18 on the
outside, indicating a 10 degree temperature differential between centre and
outside. Just what you'd expect from a radiator.

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I'm not convinced.

"I assure you, Lord Vadar, my men are working as fast as they can!"

DARREN NAISH
dwn194@soton.ac.uk