from the eat-more-chikin dept.
A big problem with dinosaurs is that there seem to be too many meat-eaters. From studies of modern animals, there is a feeding pyramid, with plants at the bottom, then plant-eaters, and then meat-eaters at the top.
A new study by scientists at the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, published in the journal Palaeontology, shows that dinosaurian meat-eaters, the theropod dinosaurs, specialised a great deal, and so broadened their food base.
The big ones, such as Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurs Rex, fed on other dinosaurs. But there were also lots of small meat-eaters that probably fed on other animals such as lizards and mammals. And some of the theropods even became plant-eaters.
[...] The analyses separated out three groups—the large dinosaur-eaters, the small carnivores and the herbivores. In particular, the tyrannosaurs such as T. rex were quite distinct—they had deeper jaws and more powerful teeth than any of the other theropods, and so had evidently evolved particular ways of dealing with large prey.
The other key finding is that the maniraptoriform theropods—those most closely related to birds—show the greatest amount of variation in jaw shapes. This suggests, but does not prove, that they had the greatest range of functions.
Morphological disparity in theropod jaws: comparing discrete characters and geometric morphometrics, Palaeontology (DOI: 10.1111/pala.12455)
Plant-based meat products are bigger than ever, with the fast-food industry, grocery stores, and upscale restaurants coming on board. A recent Nielsen report found that plant-based meat alternative purchases went up 279.8 percent last week after Americans were instructed to stay home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Impossible Foods, a company that develops plant-based meat products, says its mission is to someday replace the incumbent meat industry entirely, stating that, from a mission standpoint, a sale only has value if it comes at the expense of the sale of an animal-derived product.
But what if plant-based meat wasn't just a substitute for an already-existing marketplace, and instead, it started to make meat that has never existed?
On this week's Vergecast podcast, Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown talks to Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel about how this impossible meat could be a possibility in the future, even if it doesn't make sense for the company right now.
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