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Whatever the horns and frill were for, whether it was defense,
intraspecific combat or pure show, they were *good* at it. I say this
because these characters developed and differentiated so quickly, while the
rest of the ceratopsian body changed very slowly. In a large and presumably
slow-breeding species, rapid evolution of a character would seem to imply
that very strong selection was taking place. Ergo, even a small difference
in a character made a big difference in its possessor's chance of breeding.
So, if these characters were so effective at their job, whatever it was,
why did the morphology diverge so greatly between species? Obviously the
job they were doing was one that could be done well in many different ways
. . . OR they were doing several different jobs, and some species
emphasized one over another . . . OR the differentiation itself was
valuable. I'd conclude that the primary driver of ceratopsian headgear
evolution was sexual display, but when certain characters became useful for
attack or defense, that began to drive their development as well.
Steve Jackson - yes, of SJ Games - yes, we won the Secret Service case
Learn Web or die - http://www.sjgames.com/ - dinosaurs, Lego, Kahlua!
The heck with PGP keys; finger for Geek Code. Fnord.