Multibody dynamics model of head and neck function in Allosaurus (Dinosauria, Theropoda)

Eric Snively, John R. Cotton, Ryan Ridgely, Lawrence M. Witmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We present a multibody dynamics model of the feeding apparatus of the large Jurassic theropod dinosaur Allosaurus that enables testing of hypotheses about the animal's feeding behavior and about how anatomical parameters influence function. We created CT- and anatomical-inference-based models of bone, soft tissue, and air spaces which we use to provide inertial properties for musculoskeletal dynamics. Estimates of bone density have a surprisingly large effect on head inertial properties, and trachea diameter strongly affects moments of inertia of neck segments for dorsoventral movements. The ventrally-placed insertion of m. longissimus capitis superficialis in Allosaurus imparted over twice the ventroflexive accelerations of a proxy control insertion lateral to the occipital condyle, the latter being its position in nearly all other theropods. A feeding style that involved defleshing a carcass by avian-raptor-like retraction of the head in Allosaurus is more probable than is lateroflexive shake-feeding, such as that seen in crocodilians and inferred for tyrannosaurids.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPalaeontologia Electronica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Dinosauria
  • Feeding
  • Multibody dynamics
  • Muscle


Dive into the research topics of 'Multibody dynamics model of head and neck function in Allosaurus (Dinosauria, Theropoda)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this