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Re: No frills look at ceratopsids

In a message dated 9/21/2003 11:52:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
zone65@telstra.com writes:

>   No frills look at ceratopsids

I always thought the horns on triceratops(for example) were a little "Too 
Lethal" for intraspecific combat.  Long, sharp, forward pointing horns are 
really only good for stabbing or slashing with.  Sure, they could push and 
shove with them, but that would ultimatly lead to some serious injuries.  Most 
mammals that fight like that have hrons or antlers that are designed to lock,or 
at least point back, so the are just pushing and  shoving, not stabbing.  

However, when elephants fight, they can get really nasty witht heir forward 
pointing tusks, and I have seen hippos kill each other with their tusks.  Most 
reptiles that are territorial will avoid fighting.  It's hard to get them to 
fight, unless they are confined and forced to . some of the reptiles I have 
kept will fight to the death.  My veild chameleons one time got loose, and did 
just that.  their thing is that they display, and one will back down.  When 
they don't back down, they will fight to the death.  Many other chameleons do 
the same thing.  In the wild, they only live a few years, and every bit of 
territory counts.  the general rule seems to avoid fighting at all costs.  If 
it gets to fighting, in many species, it is to the death.  
My other species of chameleons, deremensis, tend to be much less aggressive 
than the veilds.  they have horns.  out of all living creatures, the deremensis 
are the ones that come closest to resembling triceratops.  I'll include a link 
to a picture.  They will rarely fight.  Usually only in the mating season, and 
only with two dominant males.  they'll puff up and display, then charge.  If 
one doesn't back down, they'll lock horns and try to stab and shove each other. 
 Dispite the fact that they're only about 15 inches total lenght, and their 
horns only 2 inches long, they can, and will do serious damage.  My male has 
been kind of sick lately, and when I was cleaning out his eye, he stabbed me 
with his horns.  They're realy sharp, and hurt like hell.  UI have seen some 
chameleons with poked out eyes(usually mortal in the wild) and puncture marks.  
    Now, not only are ceratopsians and chameleons totally unrelated and the 
structures analogous, but they are vastly different in size and (probably) 
behavior.  It is interesting to see how animals with the identical weaponry put 
them to use.  The chameleons without horns are usually the ones to fight to the 
death, as their jaws are far more lethal than ther horns.  As a matter of fact, 
the horns can be thought of as a means to keep the mouth of the enemy away from 
them.  Ceratopsians had some nasty jaws as well.  Despite the deadliness of 
their horns, I believe ceratopsians used them for fighting, althought I do not 
beleive that ceratopsians would have fought as often as modern mammals do.  
With their weaponry, they'd have caused too much damage.

Eric A
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