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Dinosaur Ethology

Dosu2Dinner

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Just something I've come up with. What we know about dinosaurs and other extinct creatures certainly doesn't compare to how we know modern animals, due to very obvious factors. Ethology is the study of animal behaviour, something that we can't be sure of in dinosaurs - so, a catalogue of certain dinosaur behaviour is what I'm trying to display here... :lol

Of course, this is a work of fiction, its all speculative. It isn't based on any palaeontological evidence, rather, evidence of the natural world as it is. This below piece on the lifestyle of Giganotosaurus, for example, is based off the lifestyle of lions. Take a look at this and give me your thoughts, and if you want, post your own ones!  :DD

GIGANOTOSAURUS

Description: A massive mid-Cretaceous carnivore and the apex predator of Cenomanian Argentina, Giganotosaurus superficially resembles the largest of the Laurasian tyrannosaurids, but with notable differences with the ridged crests on its skull (males only), longer, though relatively narrower jaws and muscular forearms with three visible fingers as opposed to two.
Males and females are almost identical in colour, with vividly emerald green heads and flanks grading into dark grey and tan underparts. The young, are notable for being covered in a mossy-brown down for around the first two years of their life, and are relatively helpless for this time, susceptible to predation by ornithocheirid or azdarchid pterosaurs, small carnivores such as Buitreraptor, or even more substantially sized abelisaur threats, such as Skorpiovenator or Ekrixinatosaurus. It is lucky for these hatchlings therefore, that their parents are such capable defenders. Giganotosaurus can live for up to sixty years, but are generally called before their time due to their violent lifestyle. (See below).

Lifestyle: Giganotosaurus live in a very much patriarchal hierarchy, with small to medium sized groups, known by the collective noun as ëshades.’ These shades are dominated by a single adult male, who mates ritually with all the females in his harem (can be up to ten) producing a multitude of offspring. Male offspring are typically driven from the shade when they reach sexual maturity, although can return to challenge the alpha male for dominance of the shade – new blood comes into the group via unrelated males rising to the challenge. The majority of the hunting is done by the females, who specialize in tackling hypermassive titanosaur sauropods such as Andesaurus and Argentinosaurus, which they surround and mob systematically, tearing off chunks of flesh before doubling back and waiting for the wounds to finish them. This activity is not without its risks – the shade need to ensure they tackle only the young, vulnerable or weak, or they are in extreme danger of getting crushed to death under the sauropods’ weight or killed by a single flick of their whip-like tail. Less risky sauropods to hunt include the smaller rebacchisaurid Limaysaurus.
As the apex predators, Giganotosaurus have very little to fear from other carnivores, although they and the contemporary spinosaurid Oxalaia tend to stay out of each other’s’ way. Occasionally, Giganotosaurus go head-to-head with the large abelisaurid Ekrixinatosaurus, with varied results, but only when disputes between food or territory become extremely direct, and when neither animal refuses to yield peacefully.


Dosu2Dinner

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TROODON

Description: Some of the most abundant small theropods in North America during the Late Cretaceous, Troodon and their relatives are also noted for being some of the most intelligent – it is probably for this reason that they are so successful. Their ability to hunt at night is unparalleled by any other dinosaur, particularly in the Northernmost species, right within the Arctic circle. Other species spread down as far south as Texas, and are normally found throughout North America. They are typically about 2 metres (6 ft) long, although individuals of the Arctic subspecies, Troodon formosus borealis have been reported at almost four metres (13 ft). In all subspecies of Troodon, the cocks and hens tend to be of similar size, dimorphism being noted in the elaborate head-crest of the cocks, the colouration depending on the species. The most common subspecies, found in the open woodlands of Montana and Alberta (Troodon formosus formosus) are typically mottled and mossy green-brown colour. Most Southern species tend to be a more light tan sandy coloured, sometimes even grading to a deep grey. The Arctic ëborealis’ subspecies, colloquially and popularly known as ëwoolly raptors,’ have black and white patterned plumage, although the black tends to fade into white during the winter months.

Lifestyle:: Troodon are highly sociable animals, and flock together in large groups known by the collective noun of ëassemblies.’ Each assembly can have up to 60 individuals, mainly breeding pairs, who build complex nests of twigs and vegetation, laid within a trench. Troodon tend to be fussy about ornamentation, and decorate the circumference of these nests with stones picked up from all sorts of places. Cocks are usually tasked with picking up the stones, and are noted to prefer larger and more rounded stones than knobbly shingles. Although Troodon couplings are usually long-lasting, some hens have been observed allowing cocks they are not nesting with to mate with them in exchange for superior stones when both their partners’ backs are turned. This is not the only known example of albeit rare dinosaur prostitution, but never is it more prominent than in Troodon.
These Troodon pairs raise chicks together, the down of which varies from canary yellow and snow white to grey. Although for the first week or so they feed the chicks which regurgitated meat matter, soon all the chicks within the assembly forage for food with the adults. Although they do forage for food during the day, Troodon are most active nocturnally, using their large eyes and thermoregulation to come into their own. The chicks learn to forage and hunt by imitating their elders, and there could easily be a lot to learn. The diet of the adult Troodon is immensely varied – they can take on insects, other small invertebrates and grubs by digging deep within the soil. By this method they have also been known to flush out small mammals, which they also eat, along with lizards, snakes, birds and the occasional dinosaur, normally a small ornithopod, although the Northern woolly raptors have been known to take on hadrosaurs such as Edmontosaurus in the harsh, Arctic winter, ganging up on them co-operatively. Although generally carnivorous, Troodon will also dig for roots, tubers and fungi if their normal food sources are scarce. A southern species of Troodon that lives by the coast of the Western interior seaway has been documented as adapting its diet to almost entirely one of seafood. They specialize in crushing ammonite shells and taking on turtle and pterosaur eggs. With such abundant opportunists around, who’s going to tell them to stop?