Monday, October 02, 2006


The Cannibal Coelophysis: New Look Suggests This Dinosaur Is No Beast

Chinle Formation Triassic Upper ghost ranch New Mexico Bauri (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)From the Washington Post (2-page article): Alas, poor Coelophysis! We thought we knew him well.

Birdlike dinosaur.

Prehistoric inhabitant of New Mexico.

And above all, a cannibal. So heartless, so cold, it ate its own young.

Or so the story went.

Now a new analysis of the fossil evidence indicates that scientists did not know Coelophysis (pronounced SEE-lo-FYE-sis) so well after all. Bones preserved inside the fossilized stomach of an adult Coelophysis, long believed to be the remnants of a snack-sized baby Coelophysis and the primary evidence for cannibalism by that species, are actually bones from a crocodile of sorts - the kind of prey that even the most ethically demanding paleontologist would find perfectly acceptable. [Science, Paleontology, Behavior, Evolution, Palaeontology, Dinosaurs]

Continued at "New Look Suggests This Dinosaur Is No Beast"

Based on the 'Biology Letters' open access paper "Prey choice and cannibalistic behaviour in the theropod Coelophysis" (pdf)

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