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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: 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.

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