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I've been wondering about dinosaur behaviours for quite a while, & I've
realised that while we can infer certain behaviours from extant animals,
there are some behaviours that we may never be able to prove occurred in
dinosaurs. Below are a few examples:
1) Scent-marking. Most mammals scent-mark their territories, & even primates
use scent to convey certain subtle messages. In many mammals, scent glands
are found in font of the eyes, in between the toes, on the chest and beneath
the tail. Is it possible that dinosaurs could have used scent-marking in a
similar way? I don't know of reptiles or birds that scent-mark.
2) Urination. In mammals, urine plays a very important role, not just in
marking territories, but the males of most mmals are able to determine if a
female is in estrus by sniffing her urine. In many ungulates, the female
urinates on demand when the male licks her rear; a sign that she is
receptive. While I know that reptiles & birds excrete uric acid, I also know
that turtles & many other eptiles void their bladders occasionally. Any
evidence of dinosaurs taking a piss?
3) Penises. I guess the majority of male dinosaurs would have a pair of
hemipenes, the system as in crocodiles. However, in birds the penis has been
lost, and only a few species have a functional male copulatory organ. (In
most birds, copulation involves a 'cloacal kiss')So is it okay to assume
that while most dinosaurs had the crocodilian system of having 2 hemipenes,
the more derived maniraptorans may have lost the penis altogether?
4) Sense of touch. Touch is an important sense in most mammals. Most
dinosaurs, with their scaly skins, don't seem too suited to be very
sensitive to tactile stimulation. But is it possible that touch may have
played an important factor in activities like social contact, social
grooming, mating rituals etc? And is it possible that many of the feathered
dinosaurs may have had 'whiskers' or vibrassae around their muzzles?
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