BIOMECHANICS OF THERIZINOSAUR DINOSAURS
The field of functional morphology analyses the relationship between anatomical form and organismal function and behaviour. In fossil organisms, function is often difficult to reconstruct. However, by using a range of biomechanical modelling techniques, such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) or Multibody Dynamics Analysis (MDA), coupled with CT scanning and digital visualisation, it is possible to investigate the form/function-relation of extinct animals. These techniques are particularly powerful tools to not only compare different skeletal morphologies, but also to test hypothetical models and different behavioural scenarios.
Biomechnical behaviour of the skull of Erlikosaurus andrewsi without and with keratinous beak using Finite Element Analysis
Using Finite Element Analysis, we investigated the skull of Erlikosaurus andrewsi – a 3-4 m (10-13 ft) large herbivorous dinosaur called a therizinosaur, which
lived more than 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period in what is now Mongolia, and which shows evidence that part of its snout was covered by a
keratinous beak. The biomechanical simulations of Erlikosaurus andrewsi allow testing different skull configurations (with and without keratinous beak),
as well as different feeding scenarios. This approach provided accurate results how bite and muscle forces affected the skull of Erlikosaurus during the feeding process and permitted
to reconstruct the possible feeding behaviour of Erlikosaurus andrewsi.
Reconstructed feeding behaviour of Erlikosaurus andrewsi using the jaw and neck musculature in combination