When we think of dinosaurs and how they look, most of the times we remember pictures of them in which they had horns. However, most of us never stopped to wonder why they had these horns and for what. Luckily for us, a team of researchers did wonder about that and they also published a study on this topic.
The research team and their findings
A team of researchers from the Queen Mary University of London published a research paper in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. They found that the horns and frills of dinosaurs like Styracosaurus and Triceratops did not evolve as a way for them to recognize each other.
In order to prove their hypothesis they looked at a number of patterns from almost 46 species of ceratopsians. They wanted to see if there was a difference between how the species that lived together interacted with the species that lived separately. They found that there was no difference in behavior between the two.
Researchers also discovered that these ornamental traits, the horns and the frills, developed at a much higher rate than other traits. Since it is very difficult to grow horns and maintain them, they speculated that these traits must have had an important use in their groups.
The reason they had horns and frils
Andrew Knapp, the lead author of this study, stated that after their extensive research they found no conclusive evidence that the horns and frills of these before mentioned did not help in species recognition. However, if this was to be ruled out, they considered that the next possible reason would be sexual selection. Since these two traits were very visible to other dinosaurs, they decided that they would be an indicator of how members of the species would look for possible mates inside their given group.