STL Science Center

STL Science Center

12 August 2016

Terrorized by Mammals

Illustration by Brian Engh, courtesy of Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

When an animal is only a few mice in size (see Thursday's post on Aquilops size in terms of mice) then even the smallest carnivores can pose a threat to the adults and more than likely the even smaller offspring. These small Aquilops may not have lived in herds (or they may have, we do not know for certain) but in this illustration there is a small family unit that appears to consist of three adults. Arguments could be made for the idea that one of these smaller adult Aquilops might be a subadult. The offspring are certainly offspring though. They are in danger of being eaten by a rather ferocious, but equally small, mammal of the forest undergrowth. The trees in this forest are not necessarily enormous, this aspect of the illustration simply reinforces the small stature of Aquilops and the mammal actively pursuing the younger animals. The posture of the animals as facultatively bipedal appears to align with at least a few hypotheses of early ceratopsians and many other basal members of clades of dinosaurs.

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