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Re: Theropod "lek" nest scrape display arenas as Cretaceous trace fossils (free pdf)

News stories about dinosaur dancing in leks:





On Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 8:48 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
> A new paper:
> Martin G. Lockley, Richard T. McCrea, Lisa G. Buckley, Jong Deock Lim,
> Neffra A. Matthews, Brent H. Breithaupt, Karen J. Houck, Gerard D.
> Gierliński, Dawid Surmik, Kyung Soo Kim, Lida Xing, Dal Yong Kong, Ken
> Cart, Jason Martin & Glade Hadden (2016)
> Theropod courtship: large scale physical evidence of display arenas
> and avian-like scrape ceremony behaviour by Cretaceous dinosaurs.
> Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 18952
> doi:10.1038/srep18952
> http://www.nature.com/articles/srep18952
> Relationships between non-avian theropod dinosaurs and extant and
> fossil birds are a major focus of current paleobiological research.
> Despite extensive phylogenetic and morphological support, behavioural
> evidence is mostly ambiguous and does not usually fossilize. Thus,
> inferences that dinosaurs, especially theropods displayed behaviour
> analogous to modern birds are intriguing but speculative. Here we
> present extensive and geographically widespread physical evidence of
> substrate scraping behavior by large theropods considered as
> compelling evidence of “display arenas” or leks, and consistent with
> “nest scrape display” behaviour among many extant ground-nesting
> birds. Large scrapes, up to 2 m in diameter, occur abundantly at
> several Cretaceous sites in Colorado. They constitute a previously
> unknown category of large dinosaurian trace fossil, inferred to fill
> gaps in our understanding of early phases in the breeding cycle of
> theropods. The trace makers were probably lekking species that were
> seasonally active at large display arena sites. Such scrapes indicate
> stereotypical avian behaviour hitherto unknown among Cretaceous
> theropods, and most likely associated with terrirorial activity in the
> breeding season. The scrapes most probably occur near nesting
> colonies, as yet unknown or no longer preserved in the immediate study
> areas. Thus, they provide clues to paleoenvironments where such
> nesting sites occurred.