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Re: _T. rex_ debate in the newspaper



Taken from the article:

                 "If T-rex and all other tyrannosaurids were just big
                 vultures," a dinosaur fan from Paso Robles, (San
                 Luis Obispo county) asked in the Dinosaur Mailing
                 List, the largest Internet discussion group devoted
                 to dinosaurs, "why did Triceratops and Torosaurus,
                 among others, evolve such elaborate and formidable
                 defensive weapons?" Triceratops had three
                 prominent horns and a shield-like plate on its head.
                 There were no other large carnivores besides T-rex
                 alive at the time

I don't recall this discussion on the list, but I seriously doubt that the 
elaborate crests and horns of Triceratops and its kin were used as defense 
weapons.  Sampson has done more than a formidable job of showing that these 
features were display features, and developed after sexual maturity was 
reached.  Why would juveniles, the animals most vulnerable to predators, not 
possess these features if they were truly used for defense?  Why would 
evolution leave the most vulnerable defenseless while the least vulnerable 
possess defense weapons?  

Horner mentioned exactly this point in a quote from the article, but it is 
about the only part of his hypothesis that I agree with.  Larry, Dan, and 
others have brought up great points about Carpenter's _Edmontosaurus_ bone.  I 
only hope that Horner eventually does answer to these questions...

Steve

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Steve Brusatte-DINO LAND PALEONTOLOGY
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