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Re: herbivores' weapons




On Fri, 13 Feb 1998 wa105@mead.anglia.ac.uk wrote:

> Nicholas pointed out:
> 
> >>In any case, herbivores' weapons tend to evolve for intraspecific combat, 
> >>and only later are sometimes turned against predators.  This makes 
> >>theoretical sense.  An incipient horn is no use against a predator:

I think it is dangerous to use modern herbivores as analogues to dinosaur
herbivores.    While there certainly may have been intraspecific value to
defensive structures, dinosaurs had a much more crucial need for defense:
protecting a nest.  Modern herbivores (most) can rely on speed or at least
can move away from the predators while they are pregnant.  This was
impossible for dinosaurs and they had a much stronger selective pressure
to develop defensive structures.  And I disagree with the idea that an
incipient horn is of no value. It is better than no horn.