Allosaurs were large, generalized theropods of the Jurassic and Cretaceous. They had powerful running legs, meat-hook claws on the end of long grasping forelimbs, muscular necks and torsos, a long, flexible tail for a counterballance and maneuvering, and a large head studded with steak-knife teeth. They were undoubtedly efficient predators, probably savaging prey with slashing bites and holding on to thrash victims around for further trauma. Large chunks of the carcass would be ripped off and bolted down, smaller animals would simply be swallowed whole. There is some speculation (backed up by computer stress analysis of the skull) that allosaurs would attack by opening their jaws wide (they had an unusually wide gape) and swing their skull like a hatchet, using the cutting edge of their upper teeth to deliver serious wounds. Keep in mind that this idea is still controversial.
Little is known of the behavior of the allosaurs. Casts of the cavity left in ther skull by the brain show they had an excellent sense of smell, but an intelligence and visual acuity closer to that of the more advanced reptiles than to modern birds. Some trackway evidence shows they may have hunted in packs, perhaps to bring down the 20 to 80 ton sauropod dinosaurs that shared the allosaur's habitat. Mother allosaurs probably constructed a nest of dirt and decaying vegetation to incubate their eggs, much like modern crocodilians and megapode birds. The young grew rapidly, reaching adult size within a few years.
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