November 7, 2011
Dinosaur Attracted Mates Much Like A Peacock
A new study says that a species of dinosaur may have acted like a Las Vegas showgirl in order to attract males.
Oviraptor dinosaurs had a fan of feathers similar to a flamenco dancer in Las Vegas, along with a flexible tail.
Scott Persons, a doctoral student at the University of Alberta, presented the research at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology's annual meeting.
He said that Oviraptors, which lived on Earth about 75 million years ago, had tails with a dense arrangement of bones.
"The tail of an Oviraptor by comparison to the tail of most other dinosaurs is pretty darn short,´ he told LiveScience. "But it's not short in that it's missing a whole bunch of vertebrae, it's short in that the individual vertebra within the tail themselves are sort of squashed together. So they're densely packed."
He said this dense arrangement of bones would have made the tails flexible. The Oviraptor also had a fan of feathers at the end of their tails, attached to fused vertebrae similar to the tails of today's birds.
"If you combine that with having a muscular, very flexible tail, what you have is a tail that could, potentially at least, have been used to flaunt, to wave that tail-feather fan," Persons told scientists at the meeting.
He said the dinosaurs may have waved their tail fans to impress potential mates, similar to modern-day birds.
"If you think about things like peacocks, they often use their tails in courtship displays," Person said at the event.
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