Pachycephalosaurians

The Pachycephalosauria had curved, serrated teeth that were ideal for shredding plant material. They also appear to have possessed large eyes and a keen sense of smell. It was originally suggested that their thick, high-domed skulls were adapted for agonistic head-butting (Sect. 9.3.1). This has already been mentioned in the case of Stegoceras (Fig. 100). Until recently, most palaeontologists believed that these bone-headed dinosaurs lived in small groups and some, like mountain goats (Oramnos americanus) today, engaged in combative head-butting as a means of establishing dominance hierarchies. It is now thought to be more likely that they were used to butt the flanks of opponents (Goodwin and Johnson 1995). Pachycephalosaurs have been divided into two types, high-domed (pachycephalid) and low-domed (homalocephalid) forms. The skulls of the latter were not strongly built, so they most probably used head-to-head pushing contests,whereas the high-domed forms would have indulged in violent contests of flank attacks or head-butting.

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