Dinosaurs engaged in cannibalism in order to survive. Paleontologists have found clear evidence that the ancient lizards could eat representatives of their own species. In particular, allosaurs did this. Scientists write about this in the journal PLOS ONE.
A team of paleontologists examined 2,300 bones for bite marks from carnivorous dinosaurs. As a result, tooth prints were found on the bones of allosaurs. It turned out that the teeth belonged to the lizards of the same species. At the same time, allosaurus were one of the most common dinosaur species in the Jurassic period.
Paleontologists led by Stephanie Drumheller of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville found evidence of cannibalism on the remains found in the Migatt Moore quarry in Colorado.
“Previous studies of dinosaur-dominated sites reported a very low frequency of bones marked by bites — less than 5%,” says Drumheller. “This led to the interpretation that perhaps the dinosaurs didn’t eat bones, and any bite marks they left were essentially random”.
But in a sample of bones from Colorado, about 30% of the bones retained bite marks, which is consistent with the behavior of predators using bone marrow.
There are several possible reasons why the Migatt-Moore quarry contains such an anomalously large number of fossils with bite marks. One explanation is the recent shift to a “mass collection” technique in place, which means extracting virtually every sample from the quarry. This contrasts with conventional methods that prioritize the collection of fossils with scientific or aesthetic value.
As the Drumheller team has demonstrated, basic information can be extracted from fossils that are not intended for public display in the museum. Other places may also contain bountiful bite marks, but the fossils that could tell this story have remained uncollected.
Scientists also suggested that perhaps this aggressive behavior of the dinosaurs was caused by harsh living conditions. And dinosaurs – allosaurus or ceratosaurs – could eat their own relatives – living or dead.
“Maybe the dinosaurs lived in difficult times, and they ate absolutely everything they could. For example, the remains of dead bodies or even resorted to cannibalism”, the scientist suggested.