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Re: Stego Throat Armor?

Yeah... I have to agree with Mike. I've always envisioned stegosaurs having those throat osteoderms to protect the underside of the neck while sticking their head into pointy cycads and such. Who knows... maybe these guys had a taste, not for the fronds themselves, but for the chewy center.. sticking their heads in past the spear-tipped crown and using their beaks to tear into the caudex, uproot them for the roots, munch on the tender suckers, etc. I'm no botanist, but I think there's more nutritional value in the caudex and roots than in the fronds.


-----Original Message----- From: Graydon <oak@uniserve.com> To: Dinosaur Mailing List <dinosaur@usc.edu> Sent: Wed, Sep 19 9:09 PM Subject: Re: Stego Throat Armor?

On Wed, Sep 19, 2007 at 12:39:39PM -0700, T. Michael Keesey scripsit:
On 9/19/07, George Blasing <dinoworld@msn.com> wrote:
> Why would Stegosaurus, a dinosaur with its head held so low to the
> have dermal armor on the underside of its throat? Were there
> "crocodiles maybe?", that could actually attack it in that spot?
The big
> predators, like Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus, would have grabbed it
> above at the top of the back of the neck, right? Why have armor in
a spot
> that can't be reached anyway?

Maybe it wasn't for its predators, but for its "prey". Many
Jurassic-type plants tend to have a high spikiness factor.

Or it had to worry about being attacked while in a tripodal feeding stance.

Or it had to worry about being attached from the front -- even
a very stupid theropod would want to stay away from the thagomizer --
and being kicked, rather than bit.

Or the dermal armour is a display structure and was all sorts of vivid
colours in life, and there was rearing involved in the display.

There ought to be enough general selection pressure against the
expensive practise of growing extra bones that I'd think the assumption
would be 'this had a purpose'.

-- Graydon

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