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posted by chromas on Monday November 04 2019, @11:44PM   Printer-friendly
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)


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:38AM (4 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:38AM (#916050) Homepage Journal

    Where are the omnivores? Om-nomnomnomnommmmm!! It's probably just our lack of perception that prevents us seeing some of the scavengers and opportunistic creatures that could eat anything.

    --
    Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:42AM

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:42AM (#916051)

      It might be that.

      Also, almost no animals at all get fossilized so we don't really get a proper sample of what was alive in any given time.

      But yes, I'm going to bet that when the T-Rex was alive there was some kind of dinosaurian pig analogue running about eating everything.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by krishnoid on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:52AM (1 child)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:52AM (#916055)

      It could be a matter of principle [wizards.com] as well.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday November 05 2019, @01:17AM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 05 2019, @01:17AM (#916066) Homepage Journal

        I hope she is/was a better philosopher than our resident. Think we can get her to join SN?

        --
        Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday November 05 2019, @03:51AM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday November 05 2019, @03:51AM (#916114) Journal

      Where are the omnivores?

      And some of the theropods even became plant-eaters.

      Pretty sure they didn't switch to vegetarianism in a single day (if ever)...

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05 2019, @12:44AM (#916053)

    🍆

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05 2019, @01:00AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05 2019, @01:00AM (#916059)

    "dinosaurian meat-eaters, the theropod dinosaurs, specialised a great deal, and so broadened their food base."

    Are they saying that theropods as a group ate a wide variety of things, but individual species were very specific eaters? If so, I hope there is a better way to convey that.

    • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Tuesday November 05 2019, @02:35AM

      by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday November 05 2019, @02:35AM (#916087) Journal

      All decided at a special dinosaur committee meeting.
      Very civilised.

      Then t rex ate them all.

      --
      "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • (Score: 2) by Megahard on Tuesday November 05 2019, @03:49AM (1 child)

    by Megahard (4782) on Tuesday November 05 2019, @03:49AM (#916113)

    T. Rex specialized in eating lawyers.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05 2019, @11:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05 2019, @11:58PM (#916611)

      Would have been funnier if he upchucked the lawyer and started to eat grass.

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