STL Science Center

STL Science Center

03 December 2014

Calf Face of the Cape

There are four recognized species, though two are considered recognized but doubtful, of Moschops. The heavily ossified skull of Moschops is a defining feature of the animal that may, some speculate, may have been thickly built from birth onward. The speculation states that the fat but short tail adequately counter-balanced the heavy skull of Moschops and that it would have existed with the animal from birth if the head started out heavily ossified. Contrary-wise, if the skull became ossified over time as the animal aged, the counter-balancing tail could have started out miniscule and grown in coordination with the large skull. The skull, in true heavy helmeted-head fashion in the natural world, is very akinetic and appears to lack many visible sutures over much of its surface. The cemented nature of a skull that lacks sutures and kinesis allows for us to infer many behaviors, or at least make some interesting educated guesses, from looking at similar extant taxa with highly "helmeted" akinetic heads (e.g. Bighorn Sheep, American Bison). Due to this, there have been behaviors such as head-butting and display motions inferred in Moschops. The individual pits and bumps on the skull probably aided in the display function of the thick helmeted head of Moschops more than they would have in the physical combat part of intra- or interspecies combat.

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