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Re: Help-info on stegosaur plates #2

Chris Glen wrote:
> Thanks Gigi,
> >As much as I respect Stephen Czerkas, I must concede that his view of
> >_Stegosaurus_ as having a single row of alternating plates has definitely
> >fallen out of favor of late.  As Dinogeorge has pointed out, other genera
> >of stegosaurs (the Chinese forms, I believe) have been found which
> >apparently had a double row of plates, so we would expect to see the same
> >in _Stegosaurus_, too.
> I was starting to wonder about that, but I didn't know how complete the
> other stegosaur remains were, so I was beginning to convince myself the
> single row was most plausible (though not to accept it as gospel). Thanks
> for the info.
> Any info on the structural strength of _Stegosaurus_ plates and spines and
> those of other stegosaurs that would rule them out as armour/weapons? If the
> spines of something like _Kentrosaurus_ were too weak for this role then
> what were they for? The information I have is only based on studies of
> _Stegosaurus_, and it indicates these structures were too weak, had no horny
> sheath and were not mobile.
> Thanks,
> Chris

        Stegosaur defence came up quite some time ago, so excuse me
if I am repeating myself. Not all defences have to be physical. It
may be that if a stegosaur looked impressive enough that it could
have detered predators. Just because certain gazelle species leap
high into the air to show predators how agile they are does not
mean that, in an actual chase, they won't panic and get themselves
caught. But most predators don't bother to hunt gazelles that can
pronk well, so the visual clues seem to work without requiring
physical proof. The same goes for all those non-venimous species
that mimic the colour patterns of toxic species.
        If you confronted a stegosaur, or an ankylosaur for that
matter, and it began to swing its impressive tail, would you be
eager to get in there and test the theory that the tail structures
were actually too weak to withstand an impact?
        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia