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Re: Stegosaur plates as protection......
Randy King wrote:
> I've seen pictures of lions attacking spring buck and wildebeasts
> by the throat. That is the normal attack for cats. Likewise
> for most dogs. I've also seen it in, uh, aaarg, I think I've got
> a brain cramp, I can't think of its name... Anyway, when I think
> of animals that attack the hard parts, I think of the tasmanian
> devil, squid, perhaps a few birds - er dinos? It was noted earlier
> that a lion attacks cape buffalo by the spine. I am not at all
> familiar with this pair confonting. I suspect this may be a
> learned method of dealing with the buffalo, but I'm guessing at
> that. Most large cats suffocate their prey.
> Now that I think about it, bats will attack the neck because of
> the large blood vessels near the surface, but they are just as
> likely to attack upper arms and legs.
> I believe bear attacks are also at random, they may attack the back
> more if the prey curls up? Birds also attack the back when an animal
> curls up or clings to the ground. I don't know if that is preferred
> Well, that suggests that if a stegasaur could cling to the ground the
> back may be its only vulnerable point? Could it curl up like an
> armadillo? Or maybe those plates are just organic toothpicks. :)
> I think I like the idea of a stegasaur curling up into a ball.
Of course this is all speculation, and we could go on countering
arguements ad infinitum, much like predator-prey adaptive strategies.
In one of my previous postings I suggested that the large (fragile?)
plates of Stegosaurus may have functioned perfectly well as a
visual deterant, and need not be strong enough to withstand a therapod
attack. I think stegosaur plates almost definitely played a visual
role for intraspecies interaction. Any creature that has such an
obvious physical feature will undoubtedly use it for display purposes
as well. Some creatures (peacocks, birds of paradise) go to the extreme
and develop displays that actually impinge on their physical movements
and make them more prone to predation. It seems that in the evolutionary
race that reproduction and the continuation of the genes often takes
precedent over self defense.
Incidently, modern raptors usually attack the back of the neck, an
are that both Stegosaurs and Ceratopsians seem to have had protected.
Could this strategy be a left-over, far distant memory of their
theropod anscestors' killing methods? Well, perhaps not...