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Re: triceratops question
In a message dated 97-07-06 23:21:47 EDT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Wade & Carol
<< One of my dino video tapes says that triceratops
protected its young by keeping them in the center of the herd. I want to
know if there is any fossil evidence that shows this could be true? >>
Good question! And, the answer is--no fossil evidence whatsoever. There are
some trackways of sauropod dinosaur herds that >seem< to show the smaller
individuals toward the center and the larger individuals outside, but there's
no way to be sure this isn't some kind of preservational artifact or just
plain misinterpretation of data.
This kind of protective-ring herding behavior is reported in living musk oxen
and other large horned mammals, so it's natural to imagine that horned
dinosaurs may have protected their young this way. But hard evidence--such as
a volcanic-ash-kill of a herd in which the individual animals are actually
preserved in a ring formation--is completely lacking.
Also, for the genus _Triceratops_ specifically, there are as yet no known
bone beds like those of pachyrhinosaurine ceratopians. So there isn't even
any evidence that _Triceratops_ were herding animals.