'Teenage' Carnivores Wiped Out Mid-Sized Dinosaurs — Study
Small, hyperactive young dinosaurs formed packs and caused serious damage to their neighbors.
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO — A US team of scientists say they've found the reason why meat-eating dinosaurs tended to be either small or very large, with very few medium-sized species in-between.
The scientists say their findings also explain why there are more large than small species of dinosaurs — and why, compared to other fossil species, dinosaur species are not very diverse.
The study was published in the journal called Science. It studied the sizes of some 550 dinosaur species from around the world.
Researchers found that the gap between small and big species appeared when giant carnivorous dinosaurs were present in a specific region.
The populations of these giant carnivores would usually include high numbers of pre-adult youngsters, and these smaller, hyperactive young dinosaurs would form hunting packs that would out-compete all mid-sized dinosaurs, thus wiping out the mid-sized species.
In this way, the youths would form their own temporary sub-species that eliminated all mid-sized species.
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