Many dinosaurs were built for combat, with fighters consisting of plant-loving herbivores, as well as meat-craving carnivores, suggests a new study.
The paper, published in the Journal of Zoology, strengthens earlier theories that body spikes, horns and other impressive dinosaur features could do serious damage to others. Combat, according to author Andrew Farke, likely took many forms.
"Examples include horn locking, biting, use of tail clubs or spikes and ramming," explained Farke, who is a paleontologist at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. "Purposes include, but are not limited to, defense against predators, contests for social dominance, mating competitions or any other number of behaviors."
Heterodontosaurus, for example, might have used its sharp teeth as a weapon. Farke pointed out that even juveniles of this species are known to have had prominent teeth. Perhaps they sank them into flesh, as well as plants.