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The deadly cranial armature worn by Triceratops


Lance outcrops give their name in turn to the final terrestrial epoch of the Cretaceous world, the Lancian Faunal Age—a time that witnessed the adaptive deployment of the most exotic and bizarre skulls of all the panoply of dinosaurs. (lifelike dinosaur costume) Triceratops was here, the scientific etymology "three-horned face" being, in this case, an excellent shorthand description of this formidably armed herbivore. Over each reinforced eye socket grew a horn of such size as to threaten even the largest Tyrannosaurus rex. (real dinosaur costume)In life these weapons were long, sharp, and deadly because the underlying bone was covered with a horny sheath like that surrounding the cores of cattle and buffalo horns today. Out on the snout was a third, midline horn, and below it a toothless beak, deep and powerful like that of a multi-ton snapping turtle. This too was clothed in life by a shiny hornlike substance, giving the beak an ever-growing, selfsharpening edge. Plant-eater though it was, Triceratops could turn the branch-cutting apparatus of its beak into a defensive set of nippers strong enough to inflict wounds on even the largest antagonist. Truculence, nippers, and horns seem to go together. Today, the great Indian one-horn rhino can turn into the terror of the mahouts as it charges domestic elephants.(Animated dinosaur for sale) The largest Triceratops weighed nearly ten tons, bearing horns that, fully sheathed, were four feet long. No species that has ever evolved on land could withstand the full charge of such an animal.


Duckbill dinosaurs did not display the deadly cranial armature worn by Triceratops. Nonetheless the duckbill group enjoyed an extraordinary evolutionary flourish of head ornaments and adaptations in the final days of the Cretaceous. The term "duckbill" is a biomechanical misnomer. (Animatronic dinosaur for sale)True, the duckbill dinosaurs did have wide, flattened beaks, which at a distance vaguely resembled that of a mallard. However, the edges of their beak were turned down into a sharp, cookie-cutter edge, sheathed in life by a self-sharpening horn. The entire apparatus was a leaf-cropping adaptation for slicing off mouthfuls of tough fodder in a single bite. Duckbill teeth were one of the true marvels of mastication, cited everywhere in texts on dental evolution. Instead of one single row of teeth along each jawline, the duckbill had multiple rows, which combined to make a leaf-shredding surface equivalent in function to an ever-sharp carrot grater. No evolutionary device has ever evolved to masticate tough plant fiber more effectively than the dental shredder of the duckbills.

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