Researchers revealed the world of ‘Allosaurus’, one of the most fearsome predators of the Jurassic era.
About 9.5 meters (31 ft) long, weighing more than 2 tonnes with grasping claws and teeth with serrated edges that curved backward to tear and hold anything it could sink its teeth into. Allosaurus was one of the most formidable predators that lived alongside the T-Rex.
The dark side of Allosaurus…
The paleontologists recently discovered that these predators might have also been the opportunistic scavenging cannibals.
According to the research report published in the open-access journal – PLOS One, the paleontologists unearthed the fossils in Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Colorado had the bite marks from the teeth of its own species on the bones.
The excavation site in Mygatt-Moore Quarry contained 1000s of bones of different species. Upon examining more than 2,300 bones, nearly 29% of the bones bore the bite marks. This proportion of the bite marks was unusually higher in the region. The researchers also found the fossils of the Tyrannosaurus rex in the same excavation site.
They believe that in the late-Jurassic period approximately 150 million years ago, there might have been a severe food scarcity forcing these predators (Allosaurus) to scavenge and cannibalize on their own kind after death in order to survive through the harsh times.
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Stephanie Drumheller, a paleontologist at the University of Tennessee said, “Big theropods like Allosaurus probably weren’t particularly picky eaters, especially if their environments were already strapped for resources. Scavenging and even cannibalism were definitely on the table.”
However, the researchers also pointed out that there could be other possible explanations for the unusually high bitemark-proportion that may not be related to cannibalism. But some of the bite marks on the excavated bones were found in the places where the teeth could sink only after the death of an animal.