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STL Science Center
13 November 2013
Alioramus is Unique Enough
Whenever an image says only "artist's rendition" I cringe a little for the artist and hope that someone knows someone that did the artwork. That stated, this Alioramus is even more unique than expected of the long snouted and interesting dinosaur that we have come to love (or at least enjoy thinking about how this clearly tyrannosaur-like dinosaur looks so very much like an allosaur). What sort of necessity is there to this interesting camouflage scheme though? Is it artist's fancy or is it well thought out considering the ecosystem of the Nemegt Formation? Floodplains with large river channels and the related soil deposits make up the majority of the Nemegt Formation sediments. Hardened calcium carbonate deposits mark periodic droughts in the Nemegt sediments as well. A variety of prey items lived alongside Alioramus, and Tarbosaurus as well, in this periodically dry floodplain in present day central Mongolia. Camouflage for the smaller tyrannosaur would most likely be a must not only for ambushing prey but for hiding from the larger Tarbosaurus as well. Camouflage, of course, is not the only reason for markings on any animal; species recognition and looking attractive are also quality reasons to have some wonderful and interesting markings. A strangely white background in the environment, such as chalk cliffs, would make sense with this illustration's color scheme.