Illustrating the Famous Morrison Formation Fauna and Flora
We tend to get sent a lot of drawings and illustrations depicting prehistoric life. Everything Dinosaur team members view all the images that we receive and where appropriate and if requested, we respond via email with comments. Recently, we received a drawing depicting a scene relating to the palaeofauna and palaeoflora associated with the famous Morrison Formation of western North America. Our thanks to M. Elliot Massion (Mark), for sending this illustration to us.
The scene is shown from an aerial view perspective, the viewer is looking down onto the drawing, as if the events depicted were being observed by a pterosaur flying past.
A “Bird’s-eye” View of Prehistoric Fauna and Flora (Upper Jurassic)
Picture Credit: M. Elliot Massion
The illustrator commented:
“A ‘bird’s-eye’ view of the Morrison during the Jurassic. An Allosaurus fragilis has found a Camptosaur carcase, while a Harpactognathus [rhamphorhynchid pterosaur] is drawn to the drama by the smell of blood.”
Mark went onto explain that Allosaurus was an apex predator of western North America in the Late Jurassic, but, it was certainly not above scavenging a carcase, after all, very few predators around today would let the opportunity to have a free lunch slip by. Allosaurus did not have the powerful bite force, and mega teeth of a T, rex; however, adaptations to its jaws, skull, and neck muscle attachments, allowed it to hunt huge sauropods. Its teeth and claws created massive wounds that eventually caused prey to die of shock and blood loss.
For further details about the potential hunting prowess of allosaurids, Mark recommends Robert T. Bakker’s “Brontosaur Killers: Late Jurassic Allosaurids as sabre-tooth cat analogues” in Gaia, issue 15, December 1998.
Our thanks to Mark for sending in the illustration and accompanying notes.