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Some dinosaurs were cannibals. There is evidence that tyrannosaurs, including the famous T. rex, not only devoured other dinosaurs, but also to their own kind, perhaps after a life or death struggle. Were not the only ones. A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE indicates that it is probable that the alosaurios , a few large predators common in the Jurassic, were also scavengers and practice of cannibalism in times of scarcity.

it is Not easy to find teeth marks left in fossil bones by carnivorous dinosaurs (theropods), but the quarry Mygatt-Moore of Colorado (USA), which dates back 150 million years, is an exception. Researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that almost 29% of 2.368 bones examined from the quarry they had these bite marks.

After analyzing the damage left by the jagged edges of the teeth of the dinosaurs, the scientists deduced that most of the bites were made by alosaurios, many in the quarry. While the majority of the brands featured in the bones of herbivorous dinosaurs, about 17% were in the bones of other theropods. Of these, about half were directed to parts of the body less nutritious, suggesting the action of scavengers that came after the best pieces have been broken or eaten by predators above.

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The authors suggest that this unusual finding is the result of an ancient atmosphere where the corpses were buried slowly, providing sufficient time for the scavengers found. Probably, they explained, these predators lived in an ecosystem stressed by a shortage of food. In addition, given that many of the alleged bite marks of alosaurios is found in the bones of other alosaurios, these may represent rare evidence of cannibalism among dinosaurs, and the first of this behavior in this predator jurassic.

“The large theropods such as the alosáuridos were probably not particularly picky eaters, especially if their environments were already limited by resources. The search of carrion and cannibalism were definitely on the table,” says Stephanie Drumheller, lead author of the research.