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RE: Seasonal "Day Care" Hypothesis for Maiasaura

I agree with you completely, and it will no doubt be extremely difficult. Indeed, it is even hard to sex some living organisms. But given the relatively large numbers of Maiasaura specimens, I bet someone is going to figure out how to tell the sexes apart. And if we are lucky, there will be a skeletal "sex signature" that will show up in many other dinosaurs as well (maybe even "Sue"???). That's what I most love about science (the cutting-edge discoveries).
Cheers, Ken
From: "Steve  Brusatte" <dinoland@lycos.com>
Reply-To: dinoland@lycos.com
To: kinman@hotmail.com, dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: Seasonal "Day Care" Hypothesis for Maiasaura
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2001 15:24:01 -0600

On Tue, 09 Jan 2001 14:33:59
Ken Kinman wrote:
> Perhaps extremely difficult to test and falsify, but perhaps not
>impossible given enough information (eventually). For instance, if you
>found all the "migrating" Maiasaura were females and all (or most) Maiasaura
>lying on top of unhatched mounds were males, that would narrow down the
>choices significantly to my hypothesis and perhaps a few alternatives.
> If we will be luckily enough to discover such evidence (if it exists)
>is anybody's guess. But given the large numbers of Maiasaura, it would
>certainly be more likely than most other dinosaurs to reveal such behavioral
>mysteries. But maybe I am being overly optimistic.
> -------Ken

Well, there is no direct evidence that Maiasaura actually migrated, is there? I don't think there is any real, conclusive direct evidence that any one dinosaur species migrated, although it is inferred by some researchers. Migration may have been very likely in some species, but proving it...

Plus, you would also need a fool-proof way to determine the gender of the Maiasaura individuals. This may be just as difficult as proving migration. I believe that Dodson (1975) proposed a sexual dimorphic crest shape in lambeosaurines, arguing that males had larger and more showier crests. However, this wouldn't necessarily work in Maiasaura, which is a hadrosaurine.

There are large mass-death assemblages of Maiasaura, so maybe someday a researcher will try to isolate sexual dimorphic characteristics, much as Raath did with Syntarsus and Colbert attempted to do with Coelophysis.


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