STL Science Center

STL Science Center

09 October 2013

Horns and Noses

From Sampson et al.
Nasutoceratops had, as we have seen many times now, very unique horns and an immense nasal passage. As mentioned in many sources this week, the purpose of that enlarged cavity is not, as had been hypothesized here, exhibiting a powerful sense of smell. What is that cavity for then if this hypothesis is rejected? The cavity is filled with pneumatic excavations. These make the skull lighter, but what else do pneumatic excavations do for any animal, dinosaur or not? Could they be involved in some sort of vocalization or perhaps they were simply for heating air in the skull and respiratory system. Pure speculation could even create a hypothesis, using the idea that the excavations were used for heating air inhaled by Nasutoceratops, that these excavations were used by an animal that had the ability to survive in colder climates. Is there sufficient evidence for a cold weather climate anywhere in the world during the existence of this Centrosaurine?  I sincerely hope that there was some seasonal climates somewhere that this dinosaur may have encountered and needed a warming passage for. Barring that, the idea of some sort of undiagnosed noise production apparatus in the Nasutoceratops nasal region would also be very interesting.

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