The Allosaurus was an apex predator; even though it was on the smaller side, it could hold its own against many other dinosaurs. They had strong muscles and a lot of attitude, which made them dinosaurs you should not mess with. The number of fossils from the Allosaurus that have been found means that scientists have a good understanding of the behavior and capabilities of this dinosaur. So, how did the Allosaurus defend itself from attacks?
Allosaurus’s defended themselves from attack in many ways, including:
- Serrated Sharp Teeth
- Specialized Jaw And Skull Of The Allosaurus
- Specialized Neck Muscles In The Allosaurus
- The Speed Of The Allosaurus
- The Healing Capabilities Of The Allosaurus
- Allosaurus Group Strategies
Pound for pound, the Allosaurus was the most fearsome predator of the late Jurassic period. This dinosaur not only had deadly and harsh attack strategies, but they could also defend themselves really well. There are many other interesting facts that have been discovered about this dinosaur, including the different ways they were able to defend themselves. Let’s take a look at some of them…
Ways The Allosaurus Defended Itself
The Allosaurus was a great predator and, even though it was a bit on the small side, it has been described as the T-Rex of its time. However, there were many different predators that lived in the same era that the Allosaurus had to contend with and sometimes defend itself against.
Luckily, the Allosaurus had multiple ways it could protect itself from other dinosaurs’ attacks; let us take an in-depth look at these defenses that made the Allosaurus come out on top in almost all battles.
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1. Serrated Sharp Teeth
The Allosaurus had extremely sharp teeth that were serrated to ensure that they did the most amount of damage that they could when the Allosaurus bit another dinosaur.
The Allosaurus was continually growing, shedding, and replacing its serrated teeth. This means that the teeth of the Allosaurus were always extraordinarily sharp and ready to do damage. Its teeth were about 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) in length, and the Allosaurus had around 32 of these pearly whites decorating its mouth at any given time.
The way these teeth were designed and the rate at which the Allosaurus replaced them means that they were perfect weapons not only to hunt prey but to defend the Allosaurus very effectively as well.
2. Specialized Jaw And Skull Of The Allosaurus
The Allosaurus had a specialized jaw and skull that it could use as a weapon to help defend itself. The Skull of the Allosaurus was quite strong, but the bite force was relatively small. If the Allosaurus were to only use its jaw muscles, then their bite force would only measure at 805 to 2148 N (180 to 485 lbs or 81 to 220 kg).
This is a very weak bite in the dinosaur world, even some of our modern-day predator’s bite force is higher than the Allosaurus. However, this did not stop the Allosaurus, as it had some particular adaptations to its skull and jaw that made it a fearsome force that should not be messed with.
The skull of the Allosaurus could withstand a vertical force of about 55,500 N (12480 lbs or 5660kg) against the tooth row. This strength suggests that the Allosaurus would use its skull like a hatchet or an ax against other dinosaurs.
The Allosaurus would attack other dinosaurs with its mouth wide open and slashing other dinosaurs’ flesh with its serrated teeth tearing the flesh away without splintering bones. The Allosaurus would use this strategy when defending itself as the dinosaur that is on the receiving end of this open-mouthed assault would be weakened due to the wound that it would receive and the subsequent blood loss.
The jaw of the Allosaurus had a very wide gape; this was due to the loose articulation between the lower back and the front halves of the jaw; this is called a double-hinged jaw. This would give the jaw a bowed effect, allowing the Allosaurus to open its mouth much wider than most other dinosaurs.
This means that the Allosaurus had a huge bite range. This bite range, along with the strong skull and serrated teeth, means that when the Allosaurus defended itself, it could do a great deal of damage to a large area of the dinosaur that was attacking it.
The weight of the head and strength of the upper jaw allowed the Allosaurus to slam its teeth deep into the opposing dinosaur’s flesh and rip the flesh away as it raked its teeth through the attacking dinosaur’s flesh.
If the Allosaurus was able to get in a good defense strike by using this strategy, the other dinosaur may have even bled out from these deep wounds left by the Allosaurus.
3. Specialized Neck Muscles In The Allosaurus
The bite force of the Allosaurus may not have been powerful, but they made up for it with the strength of their neck muscles.
The Allosaurus had a low attachment point on its skull, which was where the longissimus capitis superficialis muscle could attach to, which is quite unusual and is not seen in other theropods. This muscle was one of the powerful neck muscles in the Allosaurus.
This neck muscle attachment to the skull would have allowed the Allosaurus to make very rapid and forceful, and precise vertical movements with its skull. This makes the open-mouthed strike that we mentioned earlier even more devastating to the dinosaur that receives it.
This muscle attachment also allowed the Allosaurus to move its head out of harm’s way really quickly to dodge an approaching bite or spiked tail swing of another dinosaur. This helped the Allosaurus to protect its head, and this speed allowed the Allosaurus to retaliate with a counterattack before the other dinosaur could react to its movements.
4. The Speed Of The Allosaurus
The Allosaurus was quite a fast dinosaur compared to other predators that lived in the same era; this was thanks to its powerful legs that were perfectly designed for running. Their thighs were shorter than other segments of the leg, mainly the foot and shin. This means that the Allosaurus had strong leg muscles with a long gate for its size.
These two factors mean that the Allosaurus could reach between 19 and 34 mph (30 to 55 kph). This was a fast dinosaur. This speed allowed the Allosaurus to retreat from a battle quite quickly if they believed they would not win the fight.
So, if the Allosaurus was being attacked by a dinosaur that was bigger than it, or if the Allosaurus did not want to fight, then it could make a speedy escape with ease.
5. Small Front Arms With Hooked Claws
The Allosaurus had two forelimbs that were short in comparison to their legs. Their forelimbs were only about 35% the length of their legs in adults. These small arms had three fingers on each hand, and these fingers were tipped with large, strongly curved claws that ended in sharp points.
These arms were small but powerful, and the forearm was a bit shorter than the upper arm. The wrist was very flexible and had a version of the semilunate carpal joints, which were also found in the fossils of derived theropods such as the maniraptorans.
The innermost finger of these three fingers that were on their hand is known as the thumb. This thumb was the largest finger and was diverged from the other fingers.
The inclusion of a thumb on their hands means that the hands of the Allosaurus were suited for both clutching their prey close to their chests as well as grasping other dinosaurs from a distance. This would allow the Allosaurus to keep their attackers at a little bit of a distance from them, which could then allow the Allosaurus to attack back with its nimble and robust neck and head.
The claws on the fingers of the Allosauruses’ hands were curved and resembled a hook shape. This would allow the Allosaurus to hook at the flesh of other dinosaurs creating large and deep wounds that could have made the other dinosaur retreat to recover.
The claws could also hold the opposing dinosaur in place while the deadly blows were delivered with the massive head and teeth.
This suggests that their sharp claws were a great part of their deadly weapon arsenal in both attacking their prey as well as in self-defense.
6. The Healing Capabilities Of The Allosaurus
The Allosaurus did not only have weapons to use to its advantage, but it also had great healing abilities. The Allosaurus could heal itself a lot faster compared to many other dinosaurs, including other predators that it shared its hunting ground with.
The bones of the Allosaurus were designed to heal and recover quickly; this means that their bones were quite resilient. In the fossils that were found of the Allosaurus dinosaur, scientists, through rigorous testing, were astoundingly able to detect some dilute traces of certain chemical signatures.
These chemical signatures revealed not only the differences between healed bone and normal bone in the dinosaur but also how the damaged bone would have actually healed itself. The Allosaurus managed to evolve a wide array of defense mechanisms inside its body that helped to regulate the repair and healing of not only broken bones but flesh injuries too.
This gave the Allosaurus the ability to fight off minor infections and to heal up wounds that other dinosaurs may have succumbed to at an alarmingly fast rate.
This suggests that the Allosaurus never really got sick and means that it never had a weak moment and was always at the top of its game. The Allosaurus was always ready for a fight, whether that was to attack its prey or to defend itself without a wound or broken bone ever having a chance to slow it down.
This ability of the Allosaurus to heal quickly probably seemed like a super-power to other dinosaurs, but it was a significant advantage to the animal in recovering from injury and being able to live to fight another day. This ability also made them very successful dinosaurs in their era.
7. Allosaurus Group Strategies
The Allosaurus was on the smaller side of the predators and only ate about 60 lbs (27 kg) of meat per day. However, for the Allosaurus to be able to take down the large prey that we know it did, as we have found evidence in the fossilized stomachs of the dinosaurs, they would have needed to hunt in small groups.
They would have hunted and formed a small family group in the same way Raptors would have. This lets them take down dinosaurs that were much bigger than them, like the huge Apatosaurus (which was formally named the Brontosaurus).
This small family group was great not only for attacks on prey but for defense against other dinosaurs too. All the Allosauruses in this family group would defend each other from any attacks from other dinosaurs. They would do this as they knew that they needed each other for hunting successfully.
If one of their own was being attacked, the rest of them would have probably swarmed the attacking dinosaur and overwhelmed it, much like the Raptors did. There would have been a flurry of bites filled with razor-sharp, serrated teeth and sharp claws ripping at the flesh of the attacking dinosaur from all sides. That dinosaur would not stand a chance against an assault from an Allosaurus family.
Other Interesting Facts About The Allosaurus
The Allosaurus was from the late Jurassic period, about 154 to 115 million years ago, and was one of the largest predators that existed during this time. This dinosaur averaged 28 ft (8.5 meters) in length, although there have been some fossils that were found that suggest it could have reached over 39 ft (12 meters).
It was about 16.5 ft (5 meters) in height, and the Allosaurus could also weigh up to 1.4 tons (3086 lbs). Its skin was brown or green with red faded stripes along its back. Because of its coloring and other features, the Allosaurus did not look like most other dinosaurs that lived during its time period. This is how the Allosaurus got its name; Allosaurus means different lizard.
The Allosaurus was quite an accident-prone dinosaur, according to its fossils. It is not unusual that the fossils of the Allosaurus are battered and filled with signs of broken bones. Some of these injuries show the pattern of fractures that would be expected after a belly flop onto the ground while the dinosaur was running. Just as well, it could heal quickly!
The Allosaurus had some trouble hearing. This dinosaur’s inner ear was built like the ear of the present-day crocodile. This suggests that the Allosaurus may have had difficulty picking up noises that were in the high-frequency range, much like crocodiles.
The Allosaurus is actually comprised of at least seven separate species. The history of the Allosaurus is messy, with seemingly new genera theropod dinosaurs, that on further inspection, turned out to be separate Allosaurus species.
The average life span of the Allosaurus was about 25 years. Based on fossil evidence, the Allosaurus reached its full adult size at about 15 years old, and the dinosaur could live another 10 to 15 years once it has reached this point, barring starvation or a deadly wound.
The Allosaurus also had a unique feature on its skull. The Allosaurus had extensions on bones in the skull called the lacrimal bones. These extensions formed a brow horn that was on top of each eye. These horns were relatively fragile and were of different shapes and sizes. They were probably used for display purposes only.
The Allosaurus was a mighty dinosaur with many weapons at its disposal. This creature was not big, but it could take on any dinosaur that tried to attack it. This dinosaur was built for fighting, down to its specialized muscle structure. The Allosaurus was always ready and waiting.
From its serrated, sharp teeth to its hooked claws and family dynamic, the Allosaurus would not have been a dinosaur you would want to mess with.
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