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Saprophagia and cannibalism were widespread phenomena among dinosaurs



Saprophagia and cannibalism were widespread phenomena among dinosaurs


Between dinosaurs of ancient Colorado, saprophagy and perhaps the cannibalism were the answers to a food-free environment, according to a study by Stephanie Drumheller of the University of Tennessee and her colleagues. Teeth marks found on some fossil bones could be significant evidence of dinosaur eating habits, although such markings left by carnivores, such as theropodsare generally very rare.

The Mygatt-Moore quarry in Colorado, dating back to the late Jurassic, i.e. about 150 million years ago, brings with it an exception to this belief. In fact, in the study by Drumheller and colleagues it was found that nearly 29% of the 2,368 bone remains found in the quarry bore signs of bites inflicted by theropod dinosaurs. By examining the damage left by the serrated edges of these dinosaurs’ teeth, scientists deduce that most of it was most likely caused by Allosaursthe most common theropods found in the quarry.

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Not only saprophagy, but in particularly unfavorable environmental conditions the theropods also resorted to cannibalism

While most of the bites were found on the bones of herbivorous dinosaurs, about 17% consisted of bites that theropods had left behind. on the bones of other theropods and about half of them have been noticed at parts of the body that are less nutritious, suggesting that the dinosaurs may have eaten what was left of the carcasses after the best parts decomposed or eaten by other carnivores. The researchers suggest that this unusual phenomenon may have been the result of an environment where carcasses were slowly buried, providing “scavengers”Enough time to find and eat them.

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The high incidence of phenomena attributable to saprophagy it could therefore have been the result of a particularly compromised ecosystem, where large predators suffered most from food shortages. Furthermore, since many of the alleged Allosaurus bite marks have been found on the bones of other Allosaurs, they may represent rare evidence of cannibalism among dinosaurs. Dr Drumheller adds: “Probably large theropods like Allosaurus weren’t particularly picky, especially if their environments were already short on resources. Saprophagia and even cannibalism certainly were not a small chance for their survival “.