Abstract

In 1910 a crew from the American Museum of Natural History discovered a bone bed composed primarily of the large tyrannosaurid Albertosaurus sarcophagus in what is now Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. Study of the remains from the site allowed the first life table and survivorship curve for a non-avian dinosaur to be created. These have served as a model for subsequent studies of dinosaurian population biology. Since 2006, the discovery and preparation of hundreds of new elements from the bone bed stand to substantially increase the minimum number of individuals (MNI) represented. This would allow testing of previous conclusions regarding the population biology of these animals and refinement of our understanding of the patterns of survivorship. Here, four formerly unrecognized individuals from the Dry Island assemblage are revealed and a revised life table presented. As in the previous analysis, a left skewed age distribution and sigmoidal survivorship pattern were found. Annual mortality rates averaged 3.47% between ages two and 13 and then increased to a mean of 19.5% prior to extinction of the cohort after 28 years of age. Mean life expectancy for individuals surviving to two years of age was 15.19 years. Mid-life increase in attrition corresponds to entrance into the breeding population. The MNI is unlikely to substantially increase, and new individuals are unlikely to affect the pattern of survivorship inferred here. Nevertheless, future excavations stand to reveal more about the anatomical and pathological variance within the Dry Island Albertosaurus population.

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