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Re: Preview of new stegosaur plate paper

Cliff Green wrote:

Dear List,

    They're not making this claim about stegosaur tail spikes are they?

Really getting sick of Horner's %##@@! Peaceful Kingdom theories Cliff

Seldom is the case where one structure has only one function so I would bet my money in both defense and display.
When one looks at the diversity of arrangements of back plates and tail spikes have in stegosaurs, I'd think first that they were display structures either coopted from or coopted to defense weapons.

I think the same about ankylosaurs: they to could have used their awesome array of armour and the tail club to assert mating rights. Actually what else could males prove than the imperviousness of their armour and being good enough foragers to maintain such structures and still be strong enough to lug it around. I can imagine male ankylosaurs in the mating season squaring off with powerful swipes of the tail and generally trying either to scare off or to turn the opponent on it's belly. (See the glyptodont Doedicurus)
Stegosaur could use their profusely irrigated plates to intimidate rivals and if that wasn't enough the tail spikes could be deftly used to prove that might makes right.

Renato Santos

Ben Creisler wrote:

In case this news release has not been mentioned here yet:


Stegosaur plates and spikes for looks only, researchers
By Robert Sanders, Media Relations | 16 May 2005
BERKELEY - The bizarre plates and spikes that lined the
backbones of the long-extinct stegosaurs were probably
extreme examples of the often elaborate and colorful
displays developed by animals to recognize fellow members
of their species, according to an international team of
paleontologists. .....

Padian, Main and coauthors John R. Horner of the Museum of
the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., and Armand de Ricqlès of
the University of Paris report their analysis of dinosaur
scutes and stegosaur plates in the spring issue of the
journal Paleobiology, to be published later this month.

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