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Nature. 2003 Apr 3;422(6931):515-8.

Cannibalism in the Madagascan dinosaur Majungatholus atopus.

Author information

1
Geology Department, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St Paul, Minnesota 55105, USA. rogers@macalester.edu

Abstract

Many lines of evidence have been brought to bear on the question of theropod feeding ecology, including functional and physiological considerations, morphological constraints, taphonomic associations, and telling--although rare--indications of direct ingestion. Tooth marks of theropods, although rarely described and generally left unassigned to a particular taxon, can provide unique clues into predator-prey interaction, and can also yield insights into the extent of carcass utilization. Here we describe a sample of tooth-marked dinosaur bone recovered from three well-documented localities in the Upper Cretaceous Maevarano Formation of Madagascar that provides insights into the feeding ecology of the abelisaurid theropod Majungatholus atopus. Intensely tooth-marked elements from multiple individuals show that Majungatholus defleshed dinosaur carcasses. Furthermore, Majungatholus clearly fed upon the remains of not only sauropods, but also conspecifics, and thus was a cannibal. Cannibalism is a common ecological strategy among extant carnivores, but until now the evidence in relation to carnivorous dinosaurs has been sparse and anecdotal.

PMID:
12673249
DOI:
10.1038/nature01532
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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