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Re: Predation in fossil record?

Not dinosaur, but we have a skull of a young cave bear with a V scratch and puncture marks, the scratches and punctures may well match those eventually made by canine teeth of a big wolf. It is undoubtedly not scavenging, since the bone healed (we made a CAT scan) and the animal survived for a while. It has been published somewhere, I have not the reference at hand but if interested contact one of the authors at

                                                Silvio Renesto

At 06.04 24/06/2003 -0400, you wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. <tholtz@geol.umd.edu>
To: <brucewoollatt@hotmail.com>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2003 8:50 AM
Subject: RE: Predation in fossil record?

>> Apart from the "fighting dinos" and the munched > > Edmontosaur who > > lived to talk about it,

 D. Tanke attributed tail trauma in hadrosaurs to trampling instead of
predation. The Denver Museum Edmontosaurus has a pit in one of its mangled
caudals, interpreted as a tooth mark by the author of the 1988 paper. M.
Brett-Surman, however, noted that "there are many diseases which cause
rotting or pitting of the bone."

 what other evidence of actual hunting behavior is
> > there in the fossil record?

 The PIN 3142/250 puncture wound, which healed.

> Excellent questions, discussed (in part) in:

> Farlow, J.O. & T.R. Holtz, Jr. 2002. The fossil record of predation in
> dinosaurs. Pp. 251-266, in M. Kowalewski & P.H. Kelley (eds.), The Fossil
> Record of Predation. The Paleontological Society Papers 8.
> PDF at http://www.yale.edu/ypmip/predation/Chapter_09.pdf
>  Also, successful
> predation and scavenging leave identical traces in the fossil record
> in the case of the second, third, and nth scavenger at a corpse, where the
> tooth marks would cross-cut older marks).
> We can find occasional remains of unsuccessful predation attempts, to show
> assaults on living prey items.
> But, by and large, evidence for predation (or against predation) is
> ecomorphological: using comparative anatomy, biomechanics, and the like to
> compare fossil forms with modern analogs.   With all the caveats that that
> holds...
> Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.

_ A good traveler leaves no tracks. Good speech lacks faultfinding. A good counter needs no calculator. A well-shut door will stay closed without a latch. Skillful fastening will stay tied without knots. (Lao Tzu)

Prof. Silvio Renesto Department of Structural and Functional Biology Università degli Studi dell'Insubria via Dunant 3 21100 Varese Tel. +39-0332-421560

e-mail: silvio.renesto@uninsubria.it