Photo of the Day #803: Ceratosaurus


A reconstruction of Ceratosaurus at the Museum of Ancient Life in Utah.

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A reconstruction of Xiphactinus at the Museum of Ancient Life in Utah.
A reconstruction of a dead Edmontosaurus on display at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, Utah.
A reconstruction of the skull of Torvosaurus based upon the few parts of skull material that have been recovered so far. Photographed at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, Utah.
A Tyrannosaurus rex, photographed at the Museum of Ancient Life in Utah.

What was the original generic name of that taxon again?

I remember as a child some scientists making the laughable claim that Ceratosaurus was actually an Allosaurus with an abnormal growth, and that the differences in the skeleton were due to an arthritic condition!

Ceratosourus Nose Horn - the reason for it!

As an engineer, the reason for the nose horn appears very obvious to me, and I am surprised that this has been overlooked. The teeth are narrow in profile and blade-like, therefore have very little structural integrity side to side. The skull below the horn is reinforced to allow for pressure exerted at the apex of the nose horn, and there is only one reason for carrying this additional bone mass along with the horn. The additional energy expenditure required to carry it is exceeded by its return in energy. The horn is simply to increase the arc of the circumference of snout. Allowing the head to be used like a claw hammer, drawing the teeth through the flesh of the prey. This requires no energy to extract large portions as the weight of the ceratosourus is used to push the head forward (the whole skull acting as a lever (handle of the claw hammer)) allowing the snout to rotate the jaws and the cutting edge of the teeth through the arc against the side of the prey. The narrow profile of the horns would reduce side slippage; helping to protect the vulnerable teeth from lateral forces from still struggling prey that could snap them off.
Look at the positioning and size differential of the teeth, the rows create a scimitar profile with the smaller teeth at the front being shorter and stronger to reduce the risk of breakage when the head is used in the claw-hammer mode. it all comes down to leverage and returns.

By Chris Jackson (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink