Feeding behaviour and bone utilization by theropod dinosaurs
Article first published online: 3 AUG 2009
© 2009 The Authors, Journal compilation © 2009 The Lethaia Foundation
Volume 43, Issue 2, pages 232–244, June 2010
How to Cite
HONE, D. W. E. and RAUHUT, O. W. M. (2010), Feeding behaviour and bone utilization by theropod dinosaurs. Lethaia, 43: 232–244. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2009.00187.x
- Issue published online: 4 MAY 2010
- Article first published online: 3 AUG 2009
- manuscript received on 18/01/2009; manuscript accepted on 20/05/2009.
Hone, D.W.E. & Rauhut, O.W.M. 2009: Feeding behaviour and bone utilization by theropod dinosaurs. Lethaia, Vol. 43, pp. 232–244.
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. □Behaviour, carnivory, palaeoecology, predation, resource utilization.