Learn about a new prehistoric animal every week with us. It will be a blast!
STL Science Center
20 August 2011
I picked out two images today and a third which is a reconstruction of the jaws of Albertosaurus. Unfortunately, this is the best I could do on finding examples of the teeth. You cannot see the ampullae from here very well on the top reconstruction, however, if you look at the bottom you can see what I believe are the ampullae that were discussed yesterday in these teeth quite clearly. The ampullae would be barely visible with gums and, even though tiny, with the amount of lips that the dinosaur had. However, it is quite an important innovation in saving the Albertosaurus, and other animals that possessed them, from shattering all of their teeth every time they bite into something.
I decided we should look at two different body types of Albertosaurus. Here we have a very lizard like body with birdlike ornamentation along the head and a total lack of camouflage for anything other than a solidly yellow plain, much like what a lion wears as their camouflage on the savannah. Given that the artist has included trees in the background it seems as though this Albertosaurus is quite ill suited to hunt in this environment unless we assume his prey is much slower and that he therefore can easily run them down without too much of an ambush. The ornamentation on the skull is clearly multipurpose just like ornamentation is in extant animals and it was most likely for mating, intimidation, and recognition within the pack; if we go along in agreeing that Albertosaurus was a pack animal.
This painting, by Raul Martin, shows the relationship of Albertosaurus and Tyrannosaurus quite clearly. The tyrannosaurid features of Albertosaurus are unmistakable in this painting. The small arms with the manus only possessing two digits as well as the large long legs with powerful muscles and the boxy head and strong jaw muscles clearly mark a tyrannosaurid dinosaur. The coloration is much more suited to hiding and waiting for an opportune time to strike at prey as well. Coincidentally, being a pack hunter as well as being the largest predator of their home area, would almost make ambush senseless to these animals. Here, though, we can see that this animal is solitary and has brought down an animal, or is perhaps scavenging the carcass of another's kill. In this case the ability to prepare an ambush would have been very important to making the kill regardless of the size and power of the Albertosaurus in comparison to the Lambeosaurus on the ground.