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Re: Protoceratops tail

Daniel Bensen wrote:
> Searching the web and my library for skeletal reconstructions of
> Protoceratops... Some reconstructions are given a tail that curves sharply 
> down and then
> smoothly back up... Other reconstructions, such as the Greg Paul pic in 
> Dodson's _The Horned
> Dinosaurs_, reconstructs the animal with a tail that sticks straight out.

As I understand it, later (larger) ceratopians had the down-curved (and
relatively vestigial) tails. However protoceratopians seem not to have
had this condition. Their tails appear to have been more functional (if
only as a display device). Perhaps as displays moved from the back end
to the front end, the importance of the tail in later ceratopians was
greatly reduced. 

Plus, the shorter-limbed and longer-tailed protos probably needed their
tails to be fairly straight, to keep them from dragging (and thus
reinforcing the old hated dinosaurian stereotypes they strived to


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