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Re: Protoceratops Gender



On Wed, 27 Jun 2001 12:13:57  
 Grant Harding wrote:
>In Tracy Ford's "How to Draw Dinosaurs" column in issue # 30 of _Prehistoric 
>Times_ (the fifth anniversary issue), he talks about protoceratop(s)ians.  He 
>describes the two genders of _Protoceratops_ that have been found: males, with 
>"a small bump on the nasals...and large wide frill", and females, with "no 
>bump and a smaller frill".
>
>My question is this: while it does seem very likely that these two morphs 
>represent the two genders of _Protoceratops_, do we actually KNOW which one is 
>which? (i.e. Could the small-bump-and-large-wide-frill specimens actually be 
>the females?)  Has anyone looked into chevrons at the base of the tail, or 
>anything like that, to try to determine the gender, like people were doing for 
>_Tyrannosaurus_?

Well, I suppose the larger frilled ones could be female (and there is even the 
possibility that the frills do not show gender differences, even though I 
believe they do).  It's been awhile since I've read the papers related to this, 
but males are the ones competing for the females, not the other way around.  If 
the frills were truly a sexual structure, then it is more likely the males 
would possess the larger frills, as they were the ones who had to impress the 
females (I could give modern examples but I won't :-))

The work on Protoceratops sexual dimorphism can be read in several of Peter 
Dodson's papers, and a really good summary of Protoceratops, its frill, and 
dimorphism can be found in his book The Horned Dinosaurs.  I would check those 
out to learn more about Protoceratops.  

Steve


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