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Supraorbitals and aggressiveness



Richard W Travsky <rtravsky@uwyo.edu> wrote:

> I asked my physical anthro teacher about brow ridges on neanderthals...
> His reply was that the brow ridges could be more indicative of enlarged
sinuses 
> for cold weather adaption. 

I like it! - except that big brow ridges are found in pre-Neandertal
hominids - and in Gorilla, where warming and humidifying air is *not* an
important consideration...

> there was a direct correlation between supraorbital size and aggressiveness. 
> He said this correlation could be found in many species - even rodents

Whoa, what the *heck* is this all about? How is this supposed to be
measured? What do we mean by "aggressiveness" here? (How about Gorilla -
aggressive? non-aggressive?) Can you give us any kind of a reference on this
observed correlation?

Any further info on this would be appreciated!

Bjorn Kurten said (I believe in notes in [ - or comments on - ] his _Dance
of the 
Tiger_ ) that in his opinion the large brow ridges of some hominids may well
have constituted a threat *display* (intensified the common primate
stare-threat) which reduced the occurrences of actual agonistic encounters (
- the old "if you *look* mean, you're less likely to have to *act* mean"). 

> Theropods certainly would've been aggressive

Remember - we want to think they were, because it's *cooler* that way! But
such lethal animals "probably" ( <- scare-quotes ) went to a great deal of
trouble to *avoid* actual intraspecific combat (I'm assuming that attacking
prey isn't "aggressiveness" in theropods any more than biting off leaves is
"aggressiveness" in deer.) Theropods "probably" had pretty elaborate
territorial and hierarchial behaviors precisely to reduce the occurrence of
injuring each other - vide the various head display structures we see in
these beasts. (Not to say that intraspecific fights were rare or even
unusual - lions for example show *both* well-developed display structures
and behaviors and common fighting.)

Thanks - 
Jeffrey Willson <jwillson@harper.cc.il.us>