Top 1 Biorxiv Papers Today in Paleontology


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#1. A unique predator in a unique ecosystem: modelling the apex predator from the Late Cretaceous crocodyliform-dominated fauna in Brazil.
Felipe C Montefeltro, Stephan Lautenschlager, Pedro L Godoy, Gabriel S Ferreira, Richard J Butler
Theropod dinosaurs were relatively scarce in the Late Cretaceous ecosystems of southeast Brazil. Instead, the abundant hypercarnivore crocodyliforms known as baurusuchids were probably playing the ecological role as apex predators. Baurusuchids exhibited a series of morphological adaptations associated to this ecological role, but quantitative biomechanical assessments to support this were lacking to date. Here, we employ a biomechanical modelling approach, using finite element analysis (FEA) on skull and mandible models of a baurusuchid specimen, allowing us to characterise the craniomandibular apparatus of baurusuchids, as well as to test the hypothesis that their functional morphology allowed them to outcompete other carnivores, such as theropods. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, the ecological role of this group as specialised apex predators in the continental Late Cretaceous ecosystems of South America. With a with a relatively weak bite force (~600 N), baurusuchids preying strategies probably relied on other...
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