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Re: Psittacosaurus bristles



Steve  Brusatte wrote:

> Yeah, the link doesn't work for me either

Aye. Same here.
 
> And, is it discussed how these filaments might
> parallel the series of ossified tendons seen in the
> tail?  I'm certainly not suggesting that they are
> ossified tendons, but I find it interesting that in
> some _Psittacosaurus_ species said tendons only
> extend along the proximal half of the tail.  Likely
> coincidence, but perhaps there is a functional
> correlate??

Strong back + bristles *might* indicate a defensive
use. I don't know where the typical theropod would
strike first on an ornithopod body, but those bristles
would be irritating in a number of ways. A predator
would have to cover it's eyes with the nictitating
membrane or risk scratching it's eye balls. Britt
(1990) said this of the theorized herbst corpuscles
surrounding the theropod mouth; "During feeding such
corpuscles could have provided important sensory
feedback on prey movement and the position of bone
verses soft tissue." If your eyesight is diminished
and all you can feel on your face are a bunch of
prickly bristles, you may have a difficult time
grabbing a thigh. In any case, I'm happy that time has
told.   

-Waylon

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