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Re: Supraorbitals and aggressiveness

On Fri, 24 Jul 1998, Jeffrey Willson wrote:
> Richard W Travsky <rtravsky@uwyo.edu> wrote:
> [...]
> > 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?

No refs to offer; this was 20 years ago. Aggressivenness is a broad term
as is its actualization. It could be directed towards a predator, a rival
for females, etc. In some respects it starts to look like it's gender
> 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"). 

Which would work for more than just hominids.
> > Theropods certainly would've been aggressive
> Remember - we want to think they were, because it's *cooler* that way! But

No, we don't "want" to think they were aggressive because its cooler, it's
a reasonable assumption because a non aggressive predator probably would
have lowered survival expectations.

> 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

You stated it above - if you *look* mean, you're less likely to have to
*act* mean". Leaves don't need stalking and attacking. Prey that is 
scared into momentary paralysis becomes an easier kill.

> 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.)

Or could be used in sexual displays for mates.