What Does Fossil Evidence Tell Us About Dinosaur Behavior?

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What Does Fossil Evidence Tell Us About Dinosaur Behavior?

Understanding dinosaur behaviors isn’t the easiest task since we were unable to observe the animals. However, watching a creature is only one way of recognizing how it acts. Dinosaur fossils serve as paleontologists’ keys to the past and provide information on what dinosaurs ate, how they cared for their young, and whether they lived in groups. Dive into the interesting facts about what fossil evidence tells us about dinosaur behavior.

Some Lived and Traveled in Herds

Some fossil records show that a few species, especially herbivores, lived in groups. Based on fossils scientists have unearthed, it’s very likely that specific species, such as the Styracosaurus and Triceratops, traveled in massive herds. Paleontologists theorize this because they’ve unearthed dinosaur footprints that occur in a succession that indicates group travel. Likewise, scientists have found fossil beds that contain the bones of thousands of Centrosaurus apertus.

Living in a pack would increase an individual dinosaur’s chance of survival since there’s a wider range for predators to choose from. Additionally, some dinosaurs probably migrated for better access to food sources or nesting grounds. This makes travel safer for species and provides more protection to young dinosaurs. If one reptile saw a threat, all of them could run from it together and create a stampede.

How They Cared for Their Young

Although paleontologists continue to make discoveries about dinosaur parenthood, it’s theorized that some dinosaurs raised their young. All dinosaurs laid eggs as reptiles, but varying species had differing nesting behaviors.

Fossil records indicate that some dino parents, such as Brachiosaurus, left the nest shortly after laying their eggs. Experts assume this because they’ve never found fossils of the bones of an adult Brachiosaurus by the nest. On the other hand, carnivores such as Velociraptors likely sat on their nests and cared for their young, indicated by adult fossils found alongside baby Velociraptors.

They Had Different Diets

Another thing fossil evidence tells us about dinosaur behavior is that they had a range of diets. Specific fossil features, such as a dinosaur’s teeth, indicate whether it was an herbivore or carnivore. Plant-eating dinosaurs had flatter, rounded teeth, while meat-eaters had rows of sharp teeth.

The Herbivores

Other aspects of a dinosaur, such as its natural build, also give clues as to what it likely ate. For instance, long-necked dinosaurs, such as the Brontosaurus, ate leaves from massive trees because their body features allowed it. On the other hand, low-to-the-ground herbivores, such as the Ankylosaurus, likely ate shrubs, fruit, and ferns.

The Carnivores

Carnivorous dinosaurs, such as the T. rex and Velociraptor, also had very different diets even though both ate meat. The Tyrannosaurs rex was among the largest apex predators of its time and likely hunted weaker dinosaurs, like the Triceratops. Moreover, the T. rex likely preyed by crushing it with its powerful bite force.

Unlike the T. rex, Velociraptors didn’t solely hunt for food. Velociraptors could also hunt and use their sharp, sickle-shaped claws to kill other beasts.

Add to Your Dino Collection

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