Stegosaur plates for mates, according to an article in ScienceNOW 19 May 2005.

The distinctive plates and spikes that projected from the back and tail of stegosaurs have intrigued scientists ever since they were first discovered. They were first thought to be for defence, but when hollow channels were found in them, some scientists suggested they were for temperature regulation.

Palaeontologist Kevin Padian of the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues have studied slices of fossil plates from Stegosaurs and other dinosaurs that had plates and found they all had a similar structure, consisting of a thin outer shell with a porous core, making them too fragile to have a protective function. The stegosaur plates did have pipe-like hollows in them but these seemed to be filled with soft tissue and were not connected to blood vessels on the exterior of the plates. The researchers concluded that the “presumed radiator plumbing” was not there, but the plates could have been for species recognition.

“We think there may have been more than one Stegosaur species living in the same area,” commented John Horner of Montana State University, Bozeman who took part in the study. “You may not need to defend yourself every year, but you do have to mate.”

Editorial Comment: When stegosaur plates were first found scientists immediately thought in terms of evolutionary struggle in a dinosaur-eat-dinosaur world. As they looked at the plates more closely they thought of survival in a harsh environment. Now they have done further research they are thinking in terms of visual signalling. It is interesting to see how more research has led scientists away from an evolutionary view to what is essentially a creation view.

Genesis tells us God made the world good, which meant there was no struggle for existence, or survival of the fittest by demolishing the unfit. A good world is one of cooperation and communication, where all needs are met by the Creator’s provision and not by competing with one another. After the Fall of Man and Noah’s flood the world ceased to be very good, and competition and survival in an increasingly harsh environment became facts of life. Many structures that originally had a cooperation or communication function were now also useful for survival in a tough competitive world. Therefore, the idea that stegosaur plates were for communication, rather than warfare or the struggle for survival, is quite acceptable to creationists.

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