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Re: possible ceratopsian feeding behaviour?



Stephan Pickering wrote:
> 
> Unless I am mistaken, there was foliage of variable
> height during the late Cretaceous, and ceratopsians
> growsed/grazed on it. In other words, they were
> growsing grazers and grazing growsers...herbivores.

The term "grazing" refers to a very specific type of feeding behaviour,
quite distinct from browsing. Sheep and cattle are primarily grazers -
they crop plants (usually grass, hence the origin of the word 'graze')
down close to the roots with a wide, often flat mouth. Browsers, like
goats or camels, tend to feed higher up (rather than right down to the
roots).

I don't see ceratopians cropping anything down to the roots with their
sharp beaks. They seem better designed for a more discerning feeding
mode, snipping out the choice parts of low growing plants rather than
vacuuming stuff up in bulk like a true indiscriminant grazer. Also,
getting those cumbersome heads into the right position to feed
effectively down low may have been difficult. Perhaps they were better
suited for eating things directly ahead, or slightly upwards. Hence they
may have targeted low-growing shrub-like plants and perhaps the lower
branches of trees.

Ankylosaurs may have grazed on fern pastures, with their low slung heads
and wide mouths. Just my opinion, of course...

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