Dinosaur serrations

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 16 18:32:30 UTC 2014

Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Cartoon dinosaurs (other than Stegosaurus) often used to be drawn with a
> line of rather small, skinny serrations along their spines.  Why was that?
> More to the point, does herpetology provide a more technical terms than
> "serrations"?  Assuming that comparable structures exist on some reptiles
> somewhere.

Here is a lead from the sometimes accurate Wikipedia.

[Begin excerpt]
Some chameleons have a crest of small spikes extending along the spine
from the proximal part of the tail to the neck; both the extent and
size of the spikes varies between species and individuals. These
spikes help break up the definitive outline of the chameleon, which
aids it when trying to blend into a background.
[End excerpt]

Perhaps cartoonists were inspired to place serrations along the spines
of some dinosaurs by flawed analogical reasoning combined with the
examination of the spiky spines of some lizards. I do not know if
there is a formal name for these spikes.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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