Hi!

I recently I saw something on youtube (I think a clip from Dinosaur Planet) where it was discussed that Majungasaurus may have been a cannibal. The evidence they gave was that teeth marks on Majungasaurus bones were teeth marks of the same species.

Sometimes in books or documentaries, I read/hear of similar proofs from other carnivores - teeth marks on bones. I was curious though on why that is used as the main piece of evidence? Meaning, couldn't the teeth marks be from fights (mainly on parts of body where teeth could easily hit bone, like the tail)? Is it the location of teeth marks? What makes it certain that it's a cannibal situation?

Thank you!

Namzey

Hi there,

great question! The reason such marks are generally considered to be from cannibalism is that bites from a fight would probably show evidence of healing. We can see how bones heal after injuries so bites marks on bones with no healing either occured right before, or any time after death. At least some of these also occur in places that would be pretty hard to do during a fight (on the tips of toes, back inside the jaws) and so were probably inflicted on an animal after death, and thus during feeding.

As a result, it's probably safe to infer (for some, mostly we canoot do this) that they were indeed both feeding traces and makrs left by the same species, and sop can infer canibalism.