Analysis Of Cannibalism Among Dinosaurs

Submitted By chiehimura
Words: 1246
Pages: 5

Typically, when an individual browses through various newspapers or watches the evening news they are most likely to see or hear some new and groundbreaking news concerning a scientific breakthrough. As I was looking through various scientific journals I came across an article that caught my eye for numerous reasons, but one in particular. The heading of the article read, “Cannibal dinosaurs revealed by tooth marks.” These prehistoric creatures that have been viewed by the public for centuries as being wild and ferocious beasts, are presently being seen more then just that. Recent evidence originating in Madagascar is leading researches in the direction that dinosaurs consumption of food did not strictly adhere to the food chain but instead fed amongst their own kind.

This recent discovery has left scientists with many questions to be answered. The discovery is quite important because any research up until now has failed to uncover any evidence that would reveal that dinosaurs fed among their own kind. Ray Rogers whom has been leading the ten-year excavation states in the article that there are at least 14 current day animals that still practice cannibalism such as lions, komodo dragons, crocodiles, hyenas, black bears and grasshopper mice, but in contrast, any evidence of cannibalism among dinosaurs is sparse.

This article was also particularly interesting to me because this is a recent find and there is little to no literature published concerning the idea that dinosaurs may have been cannibals. This is a new fossil find in which makes any and all research being administered equally as important. The time period of these fossils date back nearly 65 to 75 million years ago to the late –Cretaceous period when dinosaurs neared the end of their existence on earth. The fossils that have been discovered that tend to persuade researchers to believe dinosaurs were cannibals have been located in Northwest Madagascar’s bone beds. Rogers states, “ Fossilized soil samples from the same region are red and oxidized, hinting that the area was arid, with food in short supply. The animals may have traveled to the river to find sustenance and died there.” The article also reports that the bones that were found were located in two mass animal graveyards, along with other dinosaurs, mammals, and reptiles.

Researchers have found the fossils of what they believe to be the remains of a Majungatholus atopus, a meat eating, two -legged dinosaur that measured 9 meters from nose to tail. Ray Rogers from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and his colleagues analyzed more then 20 gnarled bones that were found in three separate locations in Madagascar. Rogers states, “Never have I seen material so chewed on.” Research has shown that dinosaur’s teeth were primarily adapted for ripping meat rather then for crunching bones which makes it all the more puzzling that scientists would find bones that have been chewed through.

Researchers have found bones that have been so badly chewed that they can come to no other conclusion then the dinosaur was trying to eat the other dinosaur and not just wounds inflicted through typical altercations. Rogers says, “ The bones have been mauled, much as coyote might chew a cow. There are parallel sets of tooth marks, centimeters apart, across the ribs and backbones. The spacing and shape of the imprints do not match the dental profile of other animals that are known to have been alive at the time.”

As researchers continued to comb the mass graveyards located in Madagascar they found a fossil that only proved their hypothesis to a higher degree concerning dinosaurs and their cannibalism. Researchers found the skeletal remains of an older yet smaller predator called Coeleophysis. This fossil was found with what looked like the remains of a juvenile Coeleophysis located in its guts. With further research and analysis researchers recent study reveals that the juvenile bones may lie below rather than