The scientific tourist #113 — Lunch time

This week’s image comes to you from the Paleontology section of the Museo di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum), Universitá degli Studi di Firenze in Florence, Italy. It’s a diorama showing a Ceratosaurus preying on a group of Scutellosaurus .

It’s kind of an odd reconstruction for a couple of reasons. First, the Ceratosaurus (meaning “horned lizard”) got its name from a horn-like protrusion on its snout — something that’s pretty obviously not seen here. Ceratosaurus was a contemporary of Allosaurus in the Late Jurassic period, but is far less common in the fossil record — maybe Ceratosaurus was less numerous, or maybe its lifestyle just made its bones less likely to be fossilized.

Another odd thing about the reconstruction is the choice of dinosaurs in it — Scutellosaurus (“little shielded lizard”) lived in the Early Jurassic, some 30 million years before Ceratosaurus came along. Scutellosaurus, by the way, was one of the first armored dinosaurs — those little dashed-looking stripes down its sides are scutes, bony plates or scales.

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