Ceratopsidae, a family of thick-skulled, horned dinosaurs, including the well-known Triceratops, had teeth that functioned as shears, suggesting that they consumed particularly tough plants
In an article recently published in PLOS ONE, University of Calgary researcher, and friend of Dinosaur Island, Dr. Jordan Mallon, explains how dinosaur teeth give us insight into the varied diets of dinosaurs and how they co-exited for hundreds of millions of year in a complex ecosystem (the very theme of Dinosaur Island). Link to write-up about the article here. Link to the PLOS ONE article here.
You can select what each species of dinosaur eats on Dinosaur Island (screen capture, click to enlarge).
On Dinosaur Island you can select what each species eats. A recent article (quoted at length, below) shows why this is necessary to simultaneously maintain numerous species of large herbivores.
A new study by a Canadian Museum of Nature scientist helps answer a long-standing question in palaeontology — how numerous species of large, plant-eating dinosaurs could co-exist successfully over geological time.
Dr. Jordan Mallon, a post-doctoral fellow at the museum, tackled the question by measuring and analyzing characteristics of nearly 100 dinosaur skulls recovered from the Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta, Canada. The specimens now reside in major fossil collections across the world, including the collections of the Canadian Museum of Nature. The work was undertaken as part of his doctoral thesis at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Jason Anderson.
Mallon’s results, published in the July 10, 2013 issue of the open-access journal PLOS ONE, indicate that these megaherbivores (all weighing greater than 1,000 kg) had differing skull characteristics that would have allowed them to specialize in eating different types of vegetation. The results support a concept known as niche partitioning, which dates to the 19th-century studies of Charles Darwin and came into its own in the 1950s with the development of the science of ecology.
Detailed Information about a Nipa plant in a swamp.
Dr. Karen Chin has suggested that Nipa and Araucaria plants would be a suitable food source for Edmontosaurus on Dinosaur Island. Pictured above are two new screen shots showing a map of where Nipa plants are growing in a swamp and by rivers. The second screen shot shows detailed information about one square meter of Dinosaur Island. It is important to remember that Dinosaur Island will be in 3D. Just the utilities needed to create the island are ‘top down’ and in 2D.
Part of the interface where the user can select what vegetation is planted in which environments.
Display of information about 1 square meter of Dinosaur Island.
Here are a couple more screen shots showing the interface for building Dinosaur Island. We want to make it as easy as possible to create new islands, with different terrain and plants from different ages.
This is important to remember: Dinosaur Island will be released in 3D. However, all the tools for creating the island, placing vegetation, creating different environments and terrains, and selecting and placing dinosaurs is done in a ‘top down’ 2D interface because – and trust us on this, we’ve had years of experience working on models and simulations – it’s just a lot easier to do it this way.
Now that the island is done, the different terrains and environments are done, the vegetation is planted… it’s time for the dinosaurs!