Updated Wed, May 22, 2013 4:42 pm
A new study by team of Ohio University researchers is giving scientists new insights into how the smaller cousin of the dinosaur T.Rex would eat its prey.
Allosaurus tugged at prey more like a modern-day falcon, according to the study.
Researchers used a CT scanner to create a digital model of the fossilized skull and neck of the 150-million-year-old predator.
Paleontology professor Lawrence Witmer said the team then used computer modeling to add muscles and soft tissue to the digitized bones.
“They used these very complicated math and engineering algorithms to in sense run simulations to see what different conformations of the anatomy related to different functional movements,” Witmer said. “Particularly what we were interested in was how these animals could move their heads and necks around and how they actually stripped flesh from a carcass.”
Researchers found Allosaurus had a relatively light head compared to the bigger T.Rex. It allowed Allosaurus to move its head and neck around more rapidly and with greater control; making Allosaurus a more flexible hunter.
Witmer said the more science can learn about dinosaurs, the more we can learn about other living creatures.
“Conventional dinosaurs really stretch the bounds of what is biologically possible,” he said. “In other words how can you be fifty tons and move around on land? How do you pump blood to a head that is 30 feet away from your heart? So answers to questions about dinosaurs really shed light on how biological systems work.”
The team plans on this approach to study other dinosaurs feeding styles.