Field of Science

Biomechanical modeling of Coelophysis bauri

Jasinski, S. E. 2011. Biomechanical modeling of Coelophysis bauri: Possible feeding methods and behavior of a Late Triassic theropod. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 53:195-201.

ABSTRACT—Coelophysis bauri is a small theropod dinosaur from the Late Triassic of the southwestern United States. The Whitaker (= Ghost Ranch)quarry, which preserves hundreds to perhaps thousands of individuals, has led to many hypotheses about its behavior and feeding strategies. The beam theory allows for a quantitative approach to reconstruction of the feeding mechanism of Coelophysis. The Coelophysis mandible behaves as a simple lever, similar to that of Varanus komodoensis, and thus is more inclined to produce slashing bites. The middentary region of the Coelophysis mandible has the greatest labiolingual strength, suggesting that this would have been the region most important to live prey capture. Comparisons of the juvenile and adult specimens of Coelophysis bauri show remarkable similarities in the relative mandibular strengths, suggesting juveniles would have been apt predators. Further study of the biomechanics of theropod dinosaurs such as Coelophysis bauri may lead to a better understanding of how they lived and behaved.

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