Feeding behaviour and bone utilization by theropod dinosaurs

David W. E. Hone*, Oliver W. M. Rauhut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Examples of bone exploitation by carnivorous theropod dinosaurs are relatively rare, representing an apparent waste of both mineral and energetic resources. A review of the known incidences and possible ecological implications of theropod bone use concludes that there is currently no definitive evidence supporting the regular deliberate ingestion of bone by these predators. However, further investigation is required as the small bones of juvenile dinosaurs missing from the fossil record may be absent as a result of theropods preferentially hunting and consuming juveniles. We discuss implications for both hunting and feeding in theropods based on the existing data. We conclude that, like modern predators, theropods preferentially hunted and ate juvenile animals leading to the absence of small, and especially young, dinosaurs in the fossil record. The traditional view of large theropods hunting the adults of large or giant dinosaur species is therefore considered unlikely and such events rare. square Behaviour, carnivory, palaeoecology, predation, resource utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-244
Number of pages13
JournalLethaia
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Behaviour
  • carnivory
  • palaeoecology
  • predation
  • resource utilization.
  • PREY SIZE SELECTION
  • PREDATION RISK
  • TYRANNOSAURUS-REX
  • CRANIAL MECHANICS
  • CAPTURE SUCCESS
  • SOUTH-AFRICA
  • JUVENILE
  • DIET
  • PLEISTOCENE
  • CARNIVORES

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