Aaah, dinosaurs! These gigantic prehistoric reptiles ruled the earth for over one hundred million years. Even though they were always a subject of interest, it wasn’t until Jurassic Park came along that they garnered so much public attention. And for good reason, too!
Aside from the fact that they were made of pure awesomeness, the creatures are still fascinating to this day from a scientific point of view. For one thing, a carnivorous dinosaur the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex would need huge amounts of food to survive. However, during most of the time they roamed the planet, there were countless competing species of carnivorous reptiles attempting to survive on the land.
Finding a discarded dinosaur bone in an Italian museum, a paleontologist uses Abelisaur femur to reignite Stromer’s Riddle. For those of you not in the know, Ernst Stromer was a German paleontologist that put forth the question of how could so many apex predators exist at the same time. It still doesn’t have an answer to this day.
The dinosaur femur’s discovery also puts into light a very big problem with paleontology. Since the huge amounts of excavations and findings in the past weren’t coupled with the extensive amounts of information available to us today, many rare or even so far undiscovered dinosaur fossils remain in storage, unlabeled.
Alfio Chiarenza is a Ph.D. student in the Imperial College London, and he is the one who made the discovery. Together with his co-author, University of Bologna’s Andrea Cau, Chiarenza performed a study related to the Abelisaur femur found the museum.
By using the bone, the team asserted that it belonged to one of the largest specimens of Abelisaur ever found. They had never before known that the animals could grow so large in the region of Africa where the bone was found. According to Chiarenza,
This find confirms that at that time, in Africa, there was something particularly favorable for the existence of giant predatory dinosaurs. There is nothing comparable in modern world.
But since it would have been impossible for the wide array of predators to exist in the same area (their bones were found all heaped together), a theory states that they most likely lived in different environments and that geological processes are to blame for the mix-up.
For example, it was believed that both the Abelisaur and the Spinosaur shared the same hunting grounds, but more logical thinking led the researchers to conclude that the Spinosaur was most likely amphibious, living near sources of water and that its remains were carried by overflowing water near those of other predators.
Image source: Wikimedia