A study published in the journal Scientific Reports reinforces previous studies according to which dinosaurs did a mating dance in order to impress potential mates. This indicates that their behavior resembles the one of birds as we know them today.
Geology professor Martin Lockley from the University of Colorado Denver explained that male dinosaurs organized in groups scraped rocks, similarly to the way in which today’s birds have scrape ceremonies and nest scrape displays. The scrapes were found on rocks that were 100-million-years-old and they were discovered in Colorado. Lockley discovered 50 dinosaur scrapings. According to the researchers the scrapes were made by giant, two-legged theropods that were carnivorous. It could be the Acrocanthosaurus species which can weight almost seven tons and have 38 feet in length. The scrapes could not be removed while at the same time preserving the fossilized markings so the researchers made molds of the scrapes and took pictures.
According to Lockley these are the first places where researchers have found evidence of mating rituals of dinosaurs and also the first physical proof of behavior which indicates courtship.
It seems that in these mating rituals male dinosaurs were trying to impress females by showing off their ability to dig a kind of nests for potential mates. Previous studies hinted at colorful feathers and dinosaur head crests. Along with these recent results it seems that dinosaurs indeed had complex mating rituals. Lockley believes that the mating season was one of great activity and frenzy for the dinosaurs. He also remarked:
“This is typical of some bird species. The extensive scrape evidence suggests much high-energy activity. If small birds get excited when breeding, imagine what big theropods might have done!”
Experts have actually for a long time speculated that the mating ritual of the dinosaurs resemble the ones of modern bird descendants such as Atlantic puffins and ostriches which has energetic dances.
The discovery of the huge scraps provides valuable information for scientists in understanding dinosaur behavior. Lockley pointed out that even though carnivorous dinosaur rituals can still be observed in the case of bird descendants, it is not necessarily the case that all the descendants have this rituals or that all theropods presented it as well.
Image Source: phys.org