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Re: Complete juvenile theropod unveiled in Germany



The possibility that many of our small "coelurosaurs" are actually juveniles of 
larger non-coelurosaur taxa certainly bolsters Horner's claims that 
paleontology's current view of dinosaur biodiversity is grossly over-inflated 
by ontogenetic stages misidentified as distinct taxa. I think I remember David 
Unwin's pterosaur book describing pterosaur ecosystems as having low taxonomic 
diversity because juveniles occupied the ecological niches that would otherwise 
be taken by distinct small species. Maybe theropods had a similar life cycle. 
Tyrannosaur ontogeny supports the general idea; young tyrannosaurs had sharper 
more blade-like teeth and more cursorial body types than adult suggesting 
different prey preferences and therefore different niches. That's not 
suggesting, of course, that all small theropods were just juveniles of some 
larger form, and earlier commenters suggesting that the new find is a typical 
Juravenator-type compsognathid rather than a baby
 megalosaur could turn out right. I'm just musing here.

~ Abyssal