New insights into the lifestyle of Allosaurus (Dinosauria: Theropoda) based on another specimen with multiple pathologies

Foth, C., Evers S., Pabst B., Mateus O., Flisch A., Patthey M., & Rauhut O. W. M. (2015).  New insights into the lifestyle of Allosaurus (Dinosauria: Theropoda) based on another specimen with multiple pathologies. PeerJ PrePrints. 3, e824v1., 2015


Adult large-bodied theropods are often found with numerous pathologies. A large, almost complete, probably adult Allosaurus specimen from the Howe Stephens Quarry, Morrison Formation (Late Kimmeridgian–Early Tithonian), Wyoming, shows multiple pathologies. Pathologic bones include the left dentary, two cervical vertebrae, one cervical and several dorsal ribs, the left scapula, the left humerus, right ischium, and two left pedal phalanges. These pathologies can be classified as follows: the fifth cervical vertebra, the scapula, several ribs and the ischium are traumatic, and a callus on the shaft of the left pedal phalanx II-2 is traumatic-infectious. Traumatically fractured elements exposed to frequent movement (e.g. the scapula and the ribs) show a tendency to develop pseudarthroses instead of callus healing. The pathologies in the lower jaw and a reduced flexor tubercle of the left pedal phalanx II-2 are most likely traumatic or developmental in origin. The pathologies on the fourth cervical are most likely developmental in origin or idiopathic, that on the left humerus is infectious or idiopathic, whereas left pedal phalanx IV-1 is classified as idiopathic. With exception of the ischium, all traumatic / traumatic-infectious pathologic elements show unambiguous evidences of healing, indicating that the respective pathologies did not cause the death of this individual. Alignment of the scapula and rib pathologies from the left side suggests that all may have been caused by a single traumatic event. The ischial fracture may have been fatal. The occurrence of multiple traumatic pathologies again underlines that large-bodied theropods experienced frequent injuries during life, indicating an active predatory lifestyle, and their survival perhaps supports a gregarious behavior for Allosaurus. Signs of infections are scarce and locally restricted, indicating a successful prevention of the spread of pathogens, as it is the case in extant reptiles (including birds).



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