Questions for “An ancient hippo-sized reptile may have been a speedy beast”

illustration of an anteosaur chasing a Moschognathus

With fangs the size of bananas and capable of crushing bones, anteosaurs (one illustrated chasing a Moschognathus) reigned as top predators before the advent of dinosaurs.

Alex Bernardini

To accompany “An ancient hippo-sized reptile may have been a speedy beast


Before Reading:

1.  Not all large and fearsome, ancient reptiles were dinosaurs. Name several that weren’t.

2.  What traits might point you to large reptiles that were predators? What traits might point to large reptiles they were mostly prey animals?

During Reading:

1.  Why had scientists assumed Anteosaurus magnificus was sluggish?

2.  How had they assumed this animal got its prey?

3.  Ashley Kruger’s team analyzed a fossil skull. Where did it come from and what did they conclude about its age?

4.  What this team learn from CT analyses of the skull that suggested this animals might not have been a sluggish hunter after all?

5.  When the researchers compared this anteosaur’s skull to that of a Moschognathus whaitsi, what did they conclude?

6.  Why does Z. Jack Tseng argue that Kruger’s team still has no “smoking gun?”

After Reading:

1.  The researchers were only working with an anteosaur’s skull. What about its features suggested this was a meat-eater?

2.  If Kruger’s team had a whole Anteosaurus magnificus skeleton, what other aspects of its hunting behaviors might they be able to figure out? (Hint: What might you conclude from the relative size of different body parts, the way they connected, the thickness of the bones and the wear patterns seen in those bones?)