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Re: Protoceratops the aggressor

Bryan Stahl writes;

> I may be totally off on this, but I've often thought that Protoceratops may
>have been similar to modern pigs:  opportunistic omnivores (herbivorous
>unless eggs or carrion are available, but not dependent on them.)    Anyone
>have thoughts on this?

Some modern herbivores will eat meat if the opportunity arises (white-tailed 
deer have been spotted eating fish that have been washed up onto the shore of 
lakes and rivers), so the idea of a confirmed herbivore having an omlet is not 
out of the question.  Protoceratops lived in a relatively arid environment, and 
any survival edge it came across would undoubtedly be seized, to cope with the 
difficult conditions.  If it knew that a ready meal was available in another 
animal's nest, then it may just go and take it (has there been any "attitude 
checks" done on Proto; how tempermental was it?), or grab an egg quick while 
the mother isn't looking.

Of course, the difficult-to-prove question remains:  Did it do this????

As an aside, the environmental interpretation of Protoceratops-bearing beds has 
left me a little confused.  The sedimentology suggests a heavily sand-dominated 
environment, which would suggest dry conditions (or at least one with little 
sand-trapping vegatation; this could be synonymous).  OTOH, the sediments have 
a red color, which would suggest that water was abundant (oxidation being the 
major factor), not to mention the reports of plesiosaur material.  How do we 
balance these two ideas into a full picture of the environment of the 
Cretaceous Gobi?


Rob Meyerson

"Keep your stick on the ice."
        -Red Green