Head-biting behavior in theropod dinosaurs: Paleopathological evidence

Article (PDF Available) · January 2000with833 Reads
Source: OAI
Cranial material of Sinraptor dongi (Upper Jurassic, Xinjiang, China), Gorgosau- rus libratus, Daspletosaurus torosus (Upper Cretaceous, Alberta, Canada), and other large theropod dinosaurs exhibit similar paleopathological anomalies indicative of aggressive in- tra- or interspecific biting. Tooth strike trauma includes osseous lesions caused by solitary or multiple tooth punctures, or by dragging or gouging the tooth tips across the surfaces of cranial elements. Many of these lesions were undergoing active healing at the time of death. One isolated tyrannosaurid dentary bears a broken off and embedded tooth tip of another ty- rannosaur. Comparison with unhealed large theropod toothmarks on prey bone suggests that sublethal wounds of these types were caused by other large theropods, possibly rival conspecifics. This may indicate aggressive head or face-biting behavior in certain theropod families. Other associated traumatic osteopathy typified as localized rib and fibula fractures were observed but cannot be directly correlated with violent intra- or interspecific behavior. Healed and healing bite wounds of the head may be related to a number of factors. Establish- ment of dominance within a pack and territorial behavior are considered as two of the most likely causes. Study of paleopathologies is demonstrated to be a useful tool for understand- ing dinosaur behavior.

Full-text (PDF)

Available from: Darren Tanke, Jan 29, 2014
    • "Taking into account that fight behaviour is also common within Squamata, it is suggested here that this is conservative comportment for Lepidosauria and concerning rhynchocephalians , it may be extended to the entire group from the Triassic to Holocene. In the record, fossil is common to find examples of injuries caused by intraspecific fight including lepidosaurs and archosaurs (e.g. Tanke & Currie 1998; LinghamSoliar 2004; Everhart 2008; Tanke and Rothschild 2010). Further studies with paleopathological emphasis performed in other fossil Rhyncocephalia taxa can bring more information on this issue. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clevosaurus was a cosmopolitan Rhynchocephalia genus restricted to the Late Triassic and the Early Jurassic. In Brazil, C. brasiliensis is one of the most conspicuous species collected from the Candelária Sequence (Riograndia Assemblage Zone, Norian age) of the Santa Maria Supersequence. Several jaws of C. brasiliensis are housed in the Laboratório de Paleontologia de Vertebrados of the Instituto de Geociências-UFRGS. Some of these jaws bear a relatively small protuberant bony callus on the anterolateral margin of the dentary, evidenced by a different tissue pattern incorporating small pits and discrete grooves. This pattern closely resembles a common bone infection known in the mandible of the extant Sphenodon punctatus. Although this similarity, the infection may be the result of two possible processes: as consequence of orthal jaw shearing movements during feeding at the moments that the dentary impacts with the enlarged premaxillary tooth or due to injuries produced after fights between conspecific individuals (as is the case for S. punctatus). If the second hypothesis is correct, the same pathological processes probably occurred in the Late Triassic C. brasiliensis indicating that similar ethological conditions were already present at the beginning of the Mesozoic, during the initial radiation of the lepidosaurian clade.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2016
    • "In dinosaurs, for example , analyses of healed rib fractures and skull lesions in ceratopsians showed that genera other than Triceratops with its well-developed nasal and brow horns rather used flank-butting behaviour than head-to-head encounters for establish-ing dominance (Farlow and Dodson 1975; Farke et al. 2009; Tanke and Rothschild 2010). Healed bite marks in tyrannosaur skulls were interpreted as dominance or territorial behaviour against other tyrannosaurids, given the good fit of tyrannosaur tooth shape and the bite marks (Tanke and Currie 1998). Also, occurrences of thumb deformation in two specimens of chasmosaurine ceratopsians were used to infer locomotion patterns in the forelimb (Rega et al. 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several types of pathological bony overgrowth are known from various dinosaur taxa but, except for stress fractures, are rarely reported from appendicular elements. Herein we describe pathological manual and pedal phalanges of a camarasaurid sauropod (SMA 0002), which show features rarely recognised in non-avian dinosaurs. They include lateral osteophytes and smoothing of phalangeal articular surfaces, a deep pit, proximal enthesophytes in pedal unguals, distal overgrowth associated with a fracture, and a knob-like overgrowth lateral to the distal condyles of a pedal phalanx. Their causes were assessed by means of visual examination, CT scans, and bone histology, where possible. The lateral osteophytes are interpreted as symptoms of osteoarthritis. The ossified tendon insertions in the unguals are most probably the result of prolonged, heavy use of the pedal claws, possibly for scratchdigging. The distal overgrowth is interpreted to have developed due to changed stress regimes, and to be the cause for the fracture. The deep pit represents most likely a case of osteochondrosis, whereas the knob-like overgrowth likely represents a post-traumatic phenomenon not previously reported in dinosaurs. The study confirms that a rigorous assessment of pathologies can yield information about behaviour in long-extinct animals.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016
    • "Rothschild & Berman 1991) and other dinosaur clades such as some theropods and many ornithischians (e.g. Moodie 1923; Rothschild 1985 Rothschild , 1987 Tanke & Currie 1998). The fused vertebral bodies by means of the apparent ossification of intervertebral disc also support a spondyloarthropathy condition. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone pathology in the titanosaur dinosaur Uberabatitan ribeiroi from the Marília Formation (Bauru Group, Late Cretaceous) of Uberaba city (Minas Gerais State, Brazil) is analysed here. They include two fused procoelous mid-caudal vertebrae (CPPLIP-1020) and a haemal arch (CPPLIP-1006) of the middle section of the tail with a healing fracture callus. The analyses of the caudal vertebrae CPPLIP-1020 of Uberabatitan permit us to recognize the following signs, based on CT scan and external macroscopic observations: (1) ossified longitudinal tendons; (2) likely ossified intervertebral disc, producing fused vertebral bodies; (3) fused right zygapophyseal process with a laterally developed osteophyte affecting this joint; (4) osteophytes and exostoses at different portions of the vertebrae; (5) cloacae, bone erosion and likely internal infection. According to all the processes observed in these caudals, we could not discard at least two possibilities for the diagnosis of the fused vertebrae. It could be the result of a spondyloarthropathy process (considering most of the observed signs) or possibly have been associated with an infection (e.g. discospondylitis/infections spondylitis or septic arthritis). The bone lesion record in Uberabatitan ribeiroi from the Late Cretaceous of Brazil increases the range of study of titanosaur dinosaurs, which although have a large fossil record, have few pathological studies.
    Article · Oct 2015
Show more

Recommended publications

Discover more