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Proc Biol Sci. 2008 Nov 22;275(1651):2609-15. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0912.

Relative growth rates of predator and prey dinosaurs reflect effects of predation.

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Department of Anatomy, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA.


Hadrosaurs grew rapidly, and quantifying their growth is key to understanding life-history interactions between predators and prey during the Late Cretaceous. In this study, we longitudinally sampled a sequence of lines of arrested growth (LAGs) from an essentially full-grown hadrosaur Hypacrosaurus stebingeri (MOR 549). Spatial locations of LAGs in the femoral and tibial transverse sections of MOR 549 were measured and circumferences were calculated. For each bone, a time series of circumference data was fitted to several stochastic, discrete growth models. Our results suggest that the femur and the tibia of this specimen of Hypacrosaurus probably followed a Gompertz curve and that LAGs reportedly missing from early ontogeny were obscured by perimedullary resorption. In this specimen, death occurred at 13 years and took approximately 10-12 years to reach 95 per cent asymptotic size. The age at growth inflection, which is a proxy for reproductive maturity, occurred at approximately 2-3 years. Comparisons with several small and large predatory theropods reveal that MOR 549 grew faster and matured sooner than they did. These results suggest that Hypacrosaurus was able to partly avoid predators by outgrowing them.

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