Boys and girls: did dinosaurs of different sexes differ from each other?

(ORDO NEWS) — In many modern animals, males and females are different. But we weren’t exactly sure that such a difference between the sexes also existed in dinosaurs. Recent studies show that there was a difference.

The difference between different sexes of the same species is called sexual dimorphism. It can manifest itself in different ways: size, color of feathers, the presence or absence of certain elements (horns, tails).

Dimorphism also appears in birds, whose ancestors are actually dinosaurs. Therefore, scientists logically assumed that extinct lizards also had to have differences between the sexes. But proving this was not so easy.

Boys and girls did dinosaurs of different sexes differ from each other

Sexual dimorphism in dinosaurs

By finding dinosaur bones, scientists cannot determine whether males differed from females. This is associated with a number of problems:

  • In most cases, it is generally impossible to determine what sex the found skeleton belonged to.
  • The bones are found in fragments.
  • Bones are often broken and disfigured by time.
  • The bones of dinosaurs, even of the same species, often differ from each other. This is influenced by the age of the dinosaur, its lifestyle, genetics, habitat, food quality and other factors.

The problem of determining sex and, accordingly, solving the problem of the presence or absence of dimorphism could be solved if paleontologists had thousands of bones and hundreds of skeletons of dinosaurs of the same species.

But so far no such “deposits” of bones have been found. But scientists understood that differences between the sexes of at least some species of dinosaurs had to be – they just needed to be found.

Evidence for dimorphism

In some rare cases, paleontologists are almost certain of the exact sex of a dinosaur they have found.

  • This situation arose from the Mosasaurs, when researchers found nests of animals with eggs or young individuals and probably their mother near them.
  • In addition, there were a lot of skeletons of Mayasaurs of all ages, so this helped in determining whether there was sexual dimorphism in them.
  • Moreover, most of the skeletons were found in the same region – the animals lived at the same time and died at the same time. Therefore, there should be no differences between them due to different living conditions.

Using the entire data set, the scientists found that male and female Mayasaurs had discrepancies in weight, which tells us about sexual dimorphism. Interestingly, no such difference was found in tyrannosaurs and psittacosaurus, which also “participated” in the study.

There is also evidence that stegosaurs of different sexes also had significant differences in appearance.


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