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RE: Triceratops Skull

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
paul sparks
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2002 5:26 PM
To: ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu; sdhughes@ualberta.ca
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: Triceratops Skull

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf
Of Dino Guy Ralph
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2002 2:17 AM
To: sdhughes@ualberta.ca
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Triceratops Skull

Shara (sdhughes) wrote:

> I have recently attended a introductory University course on the
evolution of

I have spent some time looking into the resources I have and it seems to
me that the frill primarily provides a balance to the large skull. I do
not have the wherewithall to know the exact weights of the frill and
pack portion of the skulls wrt the weight of the forward part of the
skull so I could very well be out inn left field. Anyhow the biggest
reason that I think that the frill provides balance is that the
ceratopsids do not have a high muscle buildup over the shoulder like
every other grazer that I could find. The upper part of the vertebrae
are relatively small and more or less constant along the back. So
therefore it appears to me that the skull is balanced and the normal
additional muscle is not needed. Other uses such as display are
secondary in my opinion.

OK shoot.

Contrary to the prevailing idea that the frills were heavy is incorrect. The
frill is vascular and actually light. I doubt very much the frill acted as a
counter balance to the front of the skull. The majority of ceratopia have
fenestera which also lightens the frill. The front of the skull also isn't
as 'heavy' as people believe. It is typical dinosaurian and quite hollow.
The bases of the horns are hollow and I know there is current research being
done on the purpose of this.
The muscles didn't attach to the ends of the frill, but attached just behind
the supratemporal fenestrae (typical for dinosaurs). I did an article for
Dinosaur World on Ceratopian Stance and talked about the skull (Dinosaur
World, v. 1, n. 3, p. 12-17.)

Tracy L. Ford
P. O. Box 1171
Poway Ca  92074