Some carnivores eat only meat, while others are more omnivorous. To understand how and when these differences in carnivore feeding may have evolved, Museum paleontologists captured X-ray scans of skulls from living and extinct species. They reconstructed the skulls as virtual models and designed feeding simulations, to test the relationship between skull biomechanics and diet, shedding light on the evolution of feeding specializations and their distribution in the carnivore family tree.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History.
The Royal Society Publishing: An integrative method for testing form–function linkages and reconstructed evolutionary pathways of masticatory specialization
PLoS ONE: Are Cranial Biomechanical Simulation Data Linked to Known Diets in Extant Taxa? A Method for Applying Diet-Biomechanics Linkage Models to Infer Feeding Capability of Extinct Species
Building Better Skull Models for Ancient Carnivores
Fieldwork Journal—Reporting from Inner Mongolia