Episode 434: Therizinosaurus had weak claws


Episode 434: Therizinosaurus had weak claws. Did Therizinosaurus have claws that had been too massive to be helpful? Did Alvarezsaurus have claws that had been too small? How dinosaurs performed, how raptors used their claws, and dinosaurs in house.


  • Alvarezsaurs and therizinosaurs had been bizarre, and the large claws of Therizinosaurus had been surprisingly weak supply
  • Scientists studied birds to determine how dinosaurs could have performed supply
  • Raptors most likely used their “killing claws” to pin their prey, somewhat than slash at prey. supply


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The dinosaur of the day: Struthiosaurus

  • Nodosaurid dinosaur that lived within the Late Cretaceous in what’s now Austria, Romania, France, Spain, and Hungary
  • To not be confused with the ornithomimid Struthiomimus (which was extra bird-like)
  • Could also be one of the basal ankylosaurs
  • Appeared considerably like different nodosaurids, like Borealopelta
  • Walked on 4 legs, had massive shoulder spikes, had an elongate head, physique coated in armor, however no tail membership
  • As Garret put it once we talked about Struthiosaurus’ listening to in episode 274, it was “like an enormous tanky canine coated in armor and spikes”
  • Could have been a dwarf dinosaur
  • Estimated to be about 6.6 to 9.8 ft (2 to three m) lengthy and weighed about 660 lb (330 kg)
  • On the time Struthiosaurus lived, what’s now Europe was largely islands
  • In 2017 Norbert Frotzler, in a pre-print paper, reconstructed Struthiosaurus austriacus
  • A part of the 650th anniversary celebrations of the College of Vienna (in 2015)
  • Frotzler was requested to organize a diagram of Struthiosaurus and offered the reconstruction on the anniversary celebration
  • Paper was an evidence of that reconstruction
  • Described Struthiosaurus as “conspicuously small” with an extended neck, and “most likely, it was feeding primarily on ants and termites, at the very least when a juvenile animal”
  • Sort species is Struthiosaurus austriacus
  • Eduard Suess, a geologist, discovered a dinosaur tooth in 1859 at a coal mine in Austria (on high of a stone pile)
  • Tried to seek out extra fossils, and ultimately they discovered a skinny marl layer with a number of bones (recent water deposit, a part of the Grünbach Formation)
  • Fossils saved on the museum of the College of Vienna, and never studied till 1870
  • Emanuel Bunzel studied the fossils and named a number of new dinosaurs, together with Struthiosaurus, based mostly on a part of the cranium and braincase
  • Named in 1871
  • Genus identify means “ostrich lizard”
  • Genus identify refers back to the birdlike-ness of the braincase
  • Species identify refers back to the provenance from Austria the place the fossils had been discovered
  • Bunzel additionally described different Struthiosaurus fossils and osteoderms, however he referred them to Scelidosaurus and Hylaeosaurus
  • He additionally described rib fragments that he thought had been from an enormous lizard, as a result of they’d double-headed ribs (which implies extra joints between the ribs and vertebrae and due to this fact the rib cage could possibly be extra cellular), which he named Danubiosaurus anceps (after the Danube River—the identify is a nod to Mosasaurus which was named after the River Maas)
  • All these bones turned out to be from Struthiosaurus
  • Bunzel knew the braincase was from a reptile however the braincase was completely different from lizards and crocodiles (was low, compact, and had a gradual curve to the cranium roof)
  • Thought the braincase could possibly be from a dinosaur, however wasn’t positive, and thought it is perhaps a chicken based mostly on how the bones rounded and fused
  • Despatched a drawing and outline to Thomas Huxley, who agreed it was like a chicken
  • Bunzel wrote in his description of the fossils “with time, it may additionally be potential to create an order Ornithocephala (“chicken heads”)”
  • Arduous to realize it was an ankylosaur braincase on the time as a result of it was the primary one described, and there have been solely fragments so the cranium gave the impression to be frivolously constructed
  • Bunzel didn’t actually have osteoderms when he described the fossils
  • Nopcsa in 1902 discovered it was an ankylosaur, and in 1978 Walter Coombs mentioned it was a nodosaurid
  • A minimum of three people of various ages of Struthiosaurus austriacus had been present in Austria, in keeping with Suberbiola and Galton in 2001
  • Was many species of Struthiosaurus, based mostly on fragmentary fossils and materials that didn’t have distinctive options (nondiagnostic)
  • Animals which were discovered to truly be Struthiosaurus embody rataeomus,? ?Danubiosaurus,? ?Leipsanosaurus,? ?Pleuropeltus,? ?Rhodanosaurus,? ?Hoplosaurus
  • In 1881, Seeley examined Bunzel’s fossils and located lots of the bones, plates, and tooth had been a part of one dinosaur, which he named Crataeomus (which implies “mighty shoulder”). Nopcsa later synonymized Crataeomus with Struthiosaurus
  • Turned out to be a part of Struthiosaurus
  • Three legitimate species as we speak: Struthiosaurus austriacus, Struthiosaurus transylvanicus (named by Nopcsa in 1915), and Struthiosaurus languedocensis (named by Garcia and Pereda-Suberbiola in 2003)
  • In 2003 Géraldine Garcia and Xabier Pereda Suberbiola described Struthiosaurus languedocensis, based mostly on a partial skeleton of an grownup present in southern France in 1998
  • Species identify refers to Languedoc, the area the place the fossils had been discovered
  • Struthiosaurus austriacus was smaller than Struthiosaurus transylvanicus and had shorter neck vertebrae
  • Struthiosaurus languedocensis had flatter dorsal vertebrae and a unique formed ischium (pelvis)
  • Briefly talked about in episode 400, with the opposite Hateg dinosaurs
  • Nevertheless, “‘Struthiosaurus” transylvanicus is commonly referred to in quotes
  • Fossils Nopcsa described embody components of the cranium, vertebrae, a part of the shoulder, and armor
  • Coombs and Maryanska thought of Struthiosaurus austriacus to be a nomen dubium
  • In 1997, Suberbiola and Galton mentioned the “Struthiosaurus” transylvanicus could also be legitimate however the fossils are most likely insufficient to point out its completely different from Struthiosaurus austriacus
  • In 2013, Attila Osi and Edina Prondvai tentatively assigned a humerus (arm bone), of an grownup dinosaur (based mostly on histology), present in Hungary to Struthiosaurus
  • Helps present that two nodosaurids lived alongside one another within the space, which implies there was extra range in European ankylosaurs than beforehand thought
  • The opposite nodosaurid, Hungarosaurus, was virtually twice the scale of Struthiosaurus
  • Talked about Struthiosaurus in episode 374
  • Paper revealed in 2022 by Marco Schade and others
  • Re-examined the holotype braincase utilizing micro-CT scanning
  • Had comparatively quick semicircular canals (internal ear)
  • Massive semicircular canals make animals higher at balancing and extra delicate to move actions
  • Struthiosaurus additionally didn’t have a floccular recess, which helps stabilize imaginative and prescient when shifting your head and is linked to motor management
  • And had the shortest cochlear duct of any recognized dinosaur, which most likely means it couldn’t hear very properly (perhaps just a little higher than a turtle)
  • Authors additionally discovered a lot of blood vessels across the mind which helps present it might have used further blood vessels to chill down their brains
  • Taken altogether, means it most likely spent a number of its time alone, consuming, and wasn’t very lively
  • Additionally talked about Struthiosaurus in episode 377 when Garret contemplated if it might depend on infrasound to listen to
  • Struthiosaurus might hear all the way down to about 300Hz (round Center C on a piano)
  • Beneath 20Hz is taken into account infrasound, so Struthiosaurus couldn’t use it (elephants and blue whales can although)

Enjoyable Truth:

Dinosaurs by no means noticed Halley’s comet.

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