STL Science Center

STL Science Center

21 May 2014

Megaraptors or Allosaurs

Neovenator has been classified as both and allosaurid and discussed as a megaraptorid. Regardless, it is a large theropod, not much larger than a person, but large enough to be an important predator in its environment. The hands of Neovenator are long and the claws appear as though they are capable of grasping, always an important adaptation for predators that do not simply kill with their jaws alone. Given this interpretation of the hands, it then becomes somewhat apparent that this animal most likely grasped prey, holding it down, while inflicting mortal injuries upon it. The alternative hypothesis for the large and long claws is that they were used themselves to inflict the mortal injuries that brought down prey. The agile frame of Neovenator does not exclude either hypothesis, however, it does make the argument for an animal that wrestled prey down a slight bit weaker. Fleshed out, though, Neovenator may have been much bulkier than the fossils we have of it let on. There sounds like there is a lot of speculation in this entry today because there are a couple of hypotheses thrown out. Rather than side with one over the other, I think that both have merit and need to be looked into further.

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