Prehistoric Predator? Artificial Intelligence Says Footprints Not “Vicious” Dinosaur

Digital Dinosaur

An artistic digital rendition of the recently identified dinosaur. Credit: Dr. Anthony Romilio

Prehistoric footprints thought to be made by a vicious dinosaur predator were revealed by artificial intelligence to in fact be from a timid herbivore.

University of Queensland paleontologist Dr. Anthony Romilio, in an international collaboration, used AI pattern recognition to re-analyze footprints from the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument, southwest of Winton in Central Queensland.

“Large dinosaur footprints were first discovered back in the 1970s at a track site called the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument, and for many years they were believed to be left by a predatory dinosaur, like Australovenator, with legs nearly two meters long,” said Dr. Romilio.

“The mysterious tracks were thought to be left during the mid-Cretaceous Period, around 93 million years ago.

“But working out what dino species made the footprints exactly – especially from tens of millions of years ago – can be a pretty difficult and confusing business.

“Particularly since these big tracks are surrounded by thousands of tiny dinosaur footprints, leading many to think that this predatory beast could have sparked a stampede of smaller dinosaurs.

“So, to crack the case, we decided to employ an AI program called Deep Convolutional Neural Networks.”

The deep learning neural network was trained with 1,500 dinosaur footprints, all of which were theropod or ornithopod in origin. These are the groups of dinosaurs relevant to the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument prints.

The results were clear: the tracks had been made by a herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur.

Dr. Jens Lallensack, lead author from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, said that the computer assistance was vital, as the team was originally at an impasse.

“We were pretty stuck, so thank god for modern technology,” Dr. Lallensack said. “In our research team of three, one person was pro-meat-eater, one person was undecided, and one was pro-plant-eater.

“So – to really check our science – we decided to go to five experts for clarification, plus use AI.

“The AI was the clear winner, outperforming all of the experts by a wide margin, with a margin of error of around 11 percent.

“When we used the AI on the large tracks from the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument, all but one of these tracks was confidently classified as left by an ornithopod dinosaur – our prehistoric ‘predator’.”

The team hopes to continue to add to the fossil dinosaur tracks database and conduct further AI investigations. 

The research is published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface and includes collaborations between Australian, German, and UK researchers. 

A replica of the dinosaur trackway is on display at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane, and the track site can be visited near southwest of Winton, Queensland.

Reference: “A machine learning approach for the discrimination of theropod and ornithischian dinosaur tracks” by Jens N. Lallensack, Anthony Romilio and Peter L. Falkingham, 9 November 2022, Journal of The Royal Society Interface.
DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2022.0588

2 Comments on "Prehistoric Predator? Artificial Intelligence Says Footprints Not “Vicious” Dinosaur"

  1. Proterosuchus is a dinosaur it has serrated teeth it not ancestor of dinosaur because it is a dinosaur the palatoquadrate is like sphenosuchus alligator these are dinosaur. the nose is aquatic it move backward only dinosaur does that in thecodont they say it is night hunter it probaly has sclerotic ring I thought lost of sclerotic ring in mesoeucrocodylia because they become night hunter whale mesoeucrocodylia has sclerotic ring none for the gator .the lack of osteoderms in proterosuchus it’s a animal like sea turtle it’s very aquatic animal that why it lost fourth trochanter .proterosuchus allso has 3 eye there is fenestrahole on parietal this is use to identified tuatara and lizard never a thecodont . thecodont mean crocodilian a crocodilian type of animal.this mite be most primitive dinosaur ever.phytosaur juvenile had some remnants of 3 eye but not a hole on the parietal .gecko is a advance lizard so no 3 eye.parietal fuse to frontal is archosaurmorpha feature so it not only thecodont feature which I mean dinosaur feature it predate thecodont.mesoeucrocodylia osteoderms is like turtle shell so when eusuchian monster centra vertebrae joint they say it change the skin because gator become faster the gator osteoderm is smaller but turtle shell like it’s bigger than the rest of scale I thought lost square osteoderms but they still 2 scales square and the small cone only thought the cone was left this simular like lizard scales that is not shell like .this is important because eusuchian neck scales are gone eusuchian lost the neural arch on the neck so mite be something to do with the death roll early mesoeucrocodylia has neural arch on the neck .spinosaurus unique ball joint maybe is not because of weak skin looks like they have strong turtle skin and joint is because size of sailhumpneural spine the eusuchian gator allso lack neural arch on the neck.erythrosuchus has no palate teeth like archosaur but they say it is archosauformies because they say fourth trochanter is small it is turning into a dinosaur but it is a dinosaur it is digitigrade animal like a dinosaur this very aquatic dinosaur this is more like losing there dinosaur feature for aquaticism .walking on toes mammal and dinosaur feature the mesoeucrocodylia hallopus is digitigrade and it has human ankle like eparkeria this is strange for hallopus have human ankle and be digitigrade there is no use for human ankle that why mammal do not have them .human do not walk on there toe but is bipedal animal that need a human ankle like the brain is not a computor

  2. I said spinosauridae lost the s neck because of jaws for eating bigger food a classic mesoeucrocodylia feature and baryonyx neck rib is reduce probaly is some like modern crocodilian the neck is still fix it is not mobile because of big neck ribs the other ribs allso change most theropod have fix neck because of neck ribs it is not like birds .the reason why it’s wrong there is a mesoeucrocodylia with a s neck neuquensuchus but this information did not have any news hype so I miss it any time gator is links to dinosaur it is ban news no it deevolution or is transition that never change from spinosauridae like 4 bone fuse to braincase that kind of new fossil most mesoeucrocodylia have 6 bone fuse to braincase spinosauridae only have 2 like primitive animal this fossil is show how gator over the top bite force started .most bird lack neck ribs only remnants like mammal for bird is because of flight the flight feather the say birds neck is not like any animal but turtle have the same scientific name some turtle neck very mobile this is very rare for reptiles they say archaeopteryx neck is different from modern birds but very simular because of lack of neck ribs maniraptoran birds is the same too .bird vertebrae muscle attachment is different from reptiles because of synsacrum and notalium synsacrum a notalium synsacrum allso found in archaeopteryx allso archaeopteryx allso has synsacrum one of specimen I herd has it it was older .lost of sacral in gator mite be do to the death roll system they say turtle shell osteoderm of the gator allso help in bipedalism .gator lizard vertebrae muscle attachment almost same thing but the different from gator to lizard the muscle attachment of gator is on osteoderm bony skin this is likely because of death roll system the big death roll muscle.bird veterbrae muscle attachment is simular to mammal just like occified tendon .it is not reptile like.

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