Turns Out Dinosaurs May Have Been Very Sexy Dancers
In a paper published earlier this month in Scientific Reports, geologist Martin Lockley and his team claim that scrape marks found in the 100-million-year-old Cretaceous rock unit Dakota Sandstone are the first physical evidence of ‘dinosaur foreplay’ to be discovered.
According to Lockley, paleobiologists have theorized for some time that dinosaurs had similar ‘dancing’ courtship rituals to modern-day birds, but large gouges found at four different Dakota sites provide new evidence that dinosaurs may have had similar display behaviors to extant puffins or ostriches. Via The Guardian:
“We know they had feathers and crests and good vision,” Lockley said, speaking of theropods, the carnivore family of Tyrannosaurs rex. “They were visual animals, but there’s never been any actual physical evidence that their anatomy and behavior was co-opted for fairly energetic display. This is physical evidence.”
For the paper, Lockley and his team compared the sandstone gougings to scrapes left behind by modern-day puffins and ostriches, and determined that the markings weren’t the result of nesting or searching for food.
Although the species that left the marks is unknown, tracks belonging to a Acrocanthosaurus were found near the gouges. Lockley says that whatever dinosaur did the deed, he doubts they did it quietly:
Birds make love and war ceremonially. They’re very, very energetic. They’re no holds barred when it comes to showing off. Can you imagine these dinosaurs getting really excited about mating, doing all of this frenzied physical activity, and then just being mute, silent?
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]