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Re: Defense



HPB1956@aol.com wrote:
> 
> 
> Personally I think that they were used for species recognition and display of
> rank and defense. Why should a certain character used only for one purpose?
> 
> Cheers
> 
> Heinz Peter Bredow

Sure, display could have been one purpose, but ceratopian horns almost
certainly played a defensive role first and foremost. Otherwise, why
would they bother developing display devices with such sharp points?
Wider, flatter or more dendritic structures would have been more
visible. Narrow, tapered horns are best for sticking into things.

Ceratopian horns may well have been like the horns of ibex. Sure,
they're highly visible and make great display devices, but there's also
a reason why they're sturdy with wickedly sharp points. Cervid antlers
are an example of defensive structures that have a greater emphasis on
display than simpler, more practical horns. They are also much more
expensive both to grow and carry around, hence they are not permanent.

With wide neck frills, perhaps ceratopians had all the display surface
they could ever want (and then some, in species like Torosaurus). The
horns though were probably more for defense than for show. 

-- 
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Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS Archaeologist           http://dannsdinosaurs.terrashare.com
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/
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