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RE: bipedal lunges
>I'd have to say that these charges being fatal is pretty much the
>general idea behind them.
>But I wasn't thinking of charges being used against other Triceratops',
>more as a defence against predators.
Usually, features located on the head (horns, antlers, etc) are used against
the owners own species. Features on the tail (quills, spikes, etc.) are the
ones used against predators, to aid in an escape. Ceratopian horns are most
likely for intraspecies combat.
>I fully agree that for intra
>species fights, mating displays and such like, close quarters "horn
>wrestling" is likely. The deer analogy here is quite apt.
>However that cannot be their entire purpose, because then why would they
>be pointed, and why have a shield behind them?
As I commented in another posting, the frill and horns developed independantly
from each other. In is in the more developed ceratopians that these two
features combined into, what I call, a unison bluff display (waving the frill
and horns about would be an effective deterrant). In the protoceratopians and
chasmosaurine ceratopians, the frill is pretty pathetic as a shield; the large
fenestra in the frills would seriously weaken their defensive abilities.
>If you consider the speed and momentum available to a charging
>triceratops, and a forward facing set of weapons, I think this points
>very clearly to the charge being used as a tactic.
Perhaps as part of the bluff display, but not for the actual combat. Further,
if these animals could build up a good deal of speed (which I agree that they
could), they would probably use their speed to run *away* from the predator;
there would be far less energy used in running away from the predator rather
than towards the predator. Also consider the "wisdom" of a forward charge: it
would be putting itself into harms way. It may be successful in dispatching
the predator, but not without sustaining wounds itself (if the predator is a
tyrannosaur, those wounds could become fatal). Since most animals go out of
their way to avoid injury, I think the "battering ram" image needs to be
abandoned as unlikely.
"Keep your stick on the ice."