Canada is looking better all the time…

3 07 2007

According to a new ScienceDaily article, a huge bone bed of Edmontosaurus and Saurolophus has been uncovered in “southwest Edmonton,” effectively showing that the two species lived side-by-side (there was no evidence to suggest this previously). Likewise, many of the bones bear tooth marks and plenty of teeth from the tyrannosaurid Daspletosaurus have been discovered in the area. The article does not go into much detail about what we can tell from the site (what killed the hadrosaurs, for example), it could be a very interesting example of predators taking advantage of a bonanza after a flood. The taphonomy of this site could certainly give us some clues about how the ancestor of Tyrannosaurus took advantage of such an abundant food source, and I would consider whomever gets to study the site to be lucky. Hopefully I’ll eventually get to visit the Royal Tyrell Museum and other fossil sites in Canada, but I’ve got plenty tying me down in New Jersey for the moment.

(Hat tip to A Blog Around the Clock for the link)


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3 responses

5 07 2007
Zach Miller

It’s not surprising to me at all that different duckbill species lived around each other. The same thing happens with antelopes in Africa today. On that point, by the way, given that antelopes are all basically the same genus (there are actually three or four, but several species for each genus), why are we giving every duckbill with a different crest its own genus?

Corythosaurus, Lambeosaurus, Hypacrosaurus…they’re all really the same animal. Duckbills are amazingly conservative in postcranial structure. That is, if you chopped the heads off of a Parasaurolophus and a Maiasaura, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference.*

*Actually, there’s a notch in the ischium of lambeosaurines that is absent in hadrosaurines, but you get the idea.

I’m rambling, though. I’m a proponent of taxonomic conservation when it comes to dinosaurs.

Also, Daspletosaurus is not necessarily the ancestor of Tyrannosaurus. The two are different in some important ways. For example, despite their larger overall size, Tyrannosaurus’ teeth are not as proportionatelly large as those of Daspletosaurus, whose teeth seem too large for its mouth (kind of Ceratosaurus). Daspletosaurus also has smaller arms that Tyrannosaurus, and a narrower skull.

5 07 2007
laelaps

Thanks for the comment Zach; I agree that the conservative body plan of ornithiscians in general is pretty amazing. Once they found something that worked, there wasn’t a lot of drastic changes, at least not to the degree in saurischians.

I’ll have to look into the Daspletosaurus – > T. rex connection as well. I know there are some key differences between them, but the overall hypothesis seemed pretty logical to me. Given the fact that more tyrannosaurids are coming out of the ground these days, however, who knows? That’ll probably turn into a blog post in and of itself (although from what I understand the Tarbosaurus/T. rex connection is more disputed).

6 07 2007
Zach Miller

The Tarbosaurus/Tyrannosaurus debate is really one of arbitrar..ity.

(that’s not even a word, dammit!)

I’m given to the genus-level distinction just because of the enormous geographical gap between the two animals. Also, Tyrannosaurus has a stronger bite and a wider skull. But yeah, who knows, with all the tyrannosaurs being dug up (Jane, Appalachiosaurus, Dilong, Guanlong–which might be a juvenile Monolophosaurus), you never know.

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