During the Late Jurassic, Allosaurus was the world’s No. 1 predatory dinosaur. There is little argument to the contrary, given extraordinary evidence such as a discovery made at a Utah quarry. Paleontologists at the site uncovered more than 10,000 dinosaur bones. Most belonged to large, plant-eating sauropods, like Camarasaurus and Apatosaurus, which appear to have been victims of Allosaurus.
The ratio of predator to prey bones suggests just a few Allosaurus were responsible for the prehistoric dinosaur carnage. It’s hard to imagine how any creature could have survived an Allosaurus bite. This theropod’s teeth were razor sharp, serrated and curved toward the inside of its mouth on the upper jaw. On the lower jaw, the teeth had a more upright position. This allowed the hunter to hack, axe-like, into flesh with its upper teeth, while its lower teeth could then rip flesh from bone before the dinosaur immediately gulped it down. All of this action took place in a huge head that was surprisingly lightweight, due to its bone consistency and large spaces holding the eyes and nose A ridge of bone formed a crest in front of each eye and extended toward the nasal tip. This gave the dinosaur a sort of double Mohawk look. Paleontologists aren’t certain how the crest functioned. It may have protected the eyes during fights with other animals. It also could have housed special, as-of-yet unidentified, glands for the eyes. Alternatively, it might have been an identifying feature, distinguishing males from females. Allosaurus was a lean, mean, killing machine. Muscles in its S-shaped neck allowed the dinosaur to grasp and shake large prey, such as multi-ton sauropods. Sturdy clawed limbs supported its 3.6-ton body, with the thick, strong tail adding extra support. It’s likely that lone individuals stalked prey before attacking victims with long, sharp claws. The carnivore might have also hunted in packs, being careful not to run too fast. Tripping would have been a concern, since its very short forelimbs could have thrown the fleet-footed beast head over heels if Allosaurus made a wrong move, which probably didn’t happen often.