Saturday, April 21, 2007

Coelophysis bauri

I'm going to start using this blog not only for my technical comments but also to introduce my attempts at life-restorations of theropod dinosaurs. Left is the famous Coelophysis bauri. Coelophysis is one of the best preserved theropods with numerous complete specimens.

One interesting thing about this animals is the supposed evidence of cannibalism. Two specimens have been long considered to have
remains of members of its own species in their thoracic cavities. This view has been recently challenged by Sterling Nesbitt et al. A closer reinspection of the specimens revealed that in one specimen (AMNH FR 7223) the gut contents were actually not even inside the ribcage but underneath it. The second specimen (AMNH FR 7224) on the other hand was shown to actually have bone materials within its thoracic cavity. However, detailed histological study has shown that none of these bones had any diagnostic characters to suggest they were Coelophysis but were more likely to be from a small crocodylomorph.

So, there is no compelling evidence of cannibalism in Coelophysis.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Thank you for your comments on Coelophysis bauri, I was trying to explain to one of the young dinosaur fans that I meet in the course of my work that not everything seen on Walking with Dinosaurs is the gospel truth, but such programmes are based on the best guesses made by palaeontologists reviewing the evidence at the time. However, I suspect that theropods such as Coelophysis were probably capable of turning cannibalistic when environmental pressures could stresses amongst populations.

Nice blog, and I really appreciate the line drawings, we have made some attempts at drawing prehistoric animals as well, but I think yours are better than my efforts.

Best wishes