Predator/Prey Relationships in the Fossil Record
The problem with movies, dvds and television documentaries is that in many cases the scientific evidence is often embellished to some extent to make things more interesting and exciting for viewers. There is a degree of “poetic licence” employed in some cases to make an interesting story a little more dramatic, sometimes facts can be re-interpreted to permit an exciting scene to be shot. This is all well and good, but often people can get the wrong impression about an animal or about the interactions and relationships between fauna and flora, especially if the subjects are extinct as there are no animals or plants like them around today to observe and study.
This is very often the case when it comes to the Dinosauria and team members at Everything Dinosaur are working on a new teaching programme to challenge some of our assumptions about dinosaurs. Take for example, the speculation surrounding the predator/prey relationship between the herbivorous Tenontosaurus (T. tillettorum) and the fierce meat-eater Deinonychus (D. antirrhopus).
An Illustration of Tenontosaurus and Deinonychus
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Something like 20% of all the fossils of the primitive Iguanodont Tenontosaurus have been found in association with fossils of the Dromaeosaur Deinonychus. Scientists have speculated that this is evidence of a predator/prey interaction preserved in the fossil record of North America from approximately 110 million years ago. Interpreting this evidence is going to form the basis of a new lesson plan aimed at Year 6 and Year 7 school children as part of Everything Dinosaur’s work on key stage 3 science teaching materials. This session is being piloted next week, the Deinonychus/Tenontosaurus interaction will form part of the teaching before moving onto to discuss what we really know about the likes of Tyrannosaurus rex from the fossil evidence.
To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s work with schools including Dinosaur Workshops: Dinosaur Workshop