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<   No. 129   2003-06-03   >

Comic #129

1 [caption]: The late Cretaceous...
2 [caption]: An awesome display of nature, red in tooth and claw...{totally awesome Tyranosaurus/ Triceratops battle}
3 [caption]: Life, and death, in the eternal cycle, unstoppable by any force...{The Tyranosaurus is winning, getting a vicious bite in}
4 [caption]: Except maybe an Aussie with a time machine...
4 Steve: Get'cha fangs off 'im! 'E's an endangered species! Crikey! {Dinosaurs stop and stare in amazement and horror}

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2012-03-28 Rerun commentary: Real science! Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops were indeed both denizens of the late Cretaceous period, roughly 68 to 65 million years ago. There is fossil evidence that Tyrannosaurus did in fact prey on Triceratops.

Studies of Triceratops in the years since this comic was originally published have provided some intriguing ideas and controversies. Dinosaur palaeontologists John Scannella and Jack Horner argued in 2009 that Triceratops and the closely related ceratopsian fossils of Torosaurus are in fact not separate species as originally identified by Othniel Charles Marsh in the late 19th century, but are rather juvenile and adult forms of the same species. Their argument is along fossil morphology lines and the facts that there don't seem to be any small specimens of Torosaurus with its distinctive oval windows in the neck frill, nor any large specimens of Triceratops of the same sort of size as Torosaurus. Their hypothesis is that as Triceratops grows larger, it develops holes in its neck frill bone, which enlarge to become those of mature Torosaurus.

This hypothesis is disputed by other palaeontologists and is currently not fully settled. It's an exciting area of dinosaur research that needs more fossils to let us more fully understand these magnificent creatures.

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Last Modified: Wednesday, 28 March 2012; 03:27:10 PST.
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