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Re: Cursorial adaptations (was T.rex and elephants)
Chris Campbell wrote:
> and that tells me that the nice, free-moving shoulderblade doesn't in
> any way imply adaptations for cursorial motion. Consider this
> alternative use for those heavily built hind limbs (suggested to me in
> private e-mail by another on the list): what if they were used as pivot
> points, allowing the multi-ton animal to turn around quickly? This
> would make those horns somewhat useful against predators, as the animal
> could bring them to bear very quickly. The small forelimbs and hindward
> center of gravity throw a lot of support to this idea. It definitely
> makes more sense to me than the notion of developing a massively heavy
> head assembly as you simultaneously develop adaptations for speed.
The idea seems very plausible, and I think I've seen it elsewhere.
However, the ceratopsians are relatively long. Even given the rearward
center of gravity, where does it get the force to make the spin? The
ceratopsian tail seems inadequadely massive or flexible for this purpose.
Perhaps it would make more sense to think in terms of herd-level
defensive behavior. Even a small *circle* of ceratopsids, with the
ability to make short lunges, would be pretty formidable.